BART Negotiations End Sunday with Little Progress

BART negotiations between management and two worker unions have ended Sunday evening with little progress, but trains will be running Monday after a San Francisco Superior Court judge ordered a 60-day cooling off period.          

SEIU Local 1021 spokesman Des Patten said talks with BART management "didn't make much in the way of progress" after ending around 7 p.m. and that bargaining will be held off for a few days.

He said the two sides will resume talks toward the end of the  week.

"We're taking a couple of days off," Patten said. "We've been working continuously everyday."

"I think that's part of a cooling-off period is cooling off," union negotiator Chris Finn said. "It's letting the two sides sit down and think about where they are and what we can do to make some movement and to come at this with a more reasonable position or attitude."

MORE: Judge orders 60-day cooling off period in BART negotiations

BART General Manager Grace Crunican said BART has made offers that would work all parties involved.

"Our offers to this point haven't been good enough," Crunican said. "We gave a better offer, but we feel we're at the end of our rope in terms of what's going to work for the system, for the riders, and for the union."

Management issued a statement this evening following today's negotiations.

BART officials said the "latest attempt to reach a fair contract went unanswered tonight as the unions walked out of negotiations without responding to the current (management) proposal, despite the fact BART increased its wages and benefits offer" since last week.

Both sides indicated they are still at least $50 million apart. BART said it is now offering its workers a 10 percent raise over four years--that is up from 9 percent.

BART also lowered its pension proposal.

Patten said the unions are hopeful that the labor dispute will be resolved before the end of the governor's requested cooling off period.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday filed a petition requesting the court order, which prevents a strike and also prevents the transit district from locking out its workers any time before midnight on Oct. 10.

This morning, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow ordered the cooling off period at a special hearing after finding that a strike would significantly disrupt public transportation services and endanger the public.

Contract negotiations resumed this afternoon at Caltrans headquarters in Oakland around 1 p.m., BART spokesman Rick Rice said.

The two unions representing BART workers, the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, had threatened to strike again over issues including wages, health care and pension contributions.

The SEIU represents 1,430 BART mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, and the ATU represents 945 station managers.

BART trains have been running since a four-day strike ended on July 5.

If no agreement is reached before the end of the 60-day cooling off period, workers will then have the right to strike at any time.

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