BART Strike Continues, No Talks Scheduled

Many BART commuters spent the weekend planning how they are going to get around next week without BART trains.

The BART strike, which began Friday morning, is likely to continue through the weekend into the next work week. There are no new talks scheduled, and a Friday idea by the unions was summarily reject by BART management. 

Many BART commuters spent the weekend planning how they are going to get around next week without BART trains. 

BART managment contends it "wants to negotiate an end to this strike in a fair and financially responsible way."

After a marathon session of negotiations lasting 30 hours from Wednesday morning into Thursday evening ended without a deal, workers walked off the job.

MORE:  BART Strike Resource Guide

On Friday evening, union officials presented a proposal to BART management on a number of key issues that, if signed off, would have allowed trains to run Friday night.

But BART officials late Friday rejected that offer.

Negotiations appear to be at an impasse.

The work stoppage has shut down trains that move 400,000 daily commuters throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

PHOTOS: BART Unions Strike

Here are the demands the unions sent to BART on Friday to end the strike:

  • First, we commit to what we already agreed to on pensions where we met you 100 percent.
  • Second, we commit to what we already agreed to on health care where we met you 100 percent, and re-commit to changing retiree medical eligibility from five years to fifteen years.
  • Third, we commit to what we already agreed to as an economic framework (which includes wages).
  • Fourth, the District would agree to accept the unions’ compromise language on past practice.
  • Fifth, we re-commit to all of the tentative agreements we have already achieved on a variety of work rules.
  • Sixth, in order to resolve all of the outstanding supplemental issues on workplace rules that blocked us both from being able to reach an agreement, we would submit to and accept the results of a final and binding interest arbitration.
  • Seventh, we would return to existing language on all outstanding General Proposals.
  • Finally, as suggested by the mediators, the parties would establish a High Level Working Group facilitated by a Federal Mediation Service representative.

The first day of the BART strike saw a noticeable increase in traffic on Bay Area highways, according to Caltrans who actually counted the cars.

Caltrans said the worst congestion happened on the highway leading to the Bay Bridge. Delays increased about 30 percent above normal in the morning commute.

The highest overall increase was a 50 percent increase on Interstate 80 in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties and at the height of the morning, just is 7 a.m., delays on Interstates 580 and 880 were twice as high as normal.

People who had to fight traffic or find another way to work Friday were fed up with the strike, even though it was in its first day Friday.

"I don't think BART should be allowed to go on strike," said Princess McKinley who commutes from Walnut Creek to San Francisco and was now forced to take a Whitecastle Tours bus operated by BART to get to work. McKinley said BART workers should be like police officers and be barred from walking off the job. "So many people depend on this," she said.

Orinda City Councilman Steve Glazer was taking these comments to heart. Glazer, who is running for state Legislature in 2014, passed out fliers urging frustrated commuters to tell state lawmakers that BART workers shouldn't be allowed to go on strike.

"Workers and management disagree,"  he said. "But they shouldn't take it out on the riders."

MORE: How BART Contract Negotiations Broke Down

BART union workers went on strike at midnight after a week of marathon negotiations fell apart on Thursday. This follows on a four-day strike in July.

A team of federal mediators who participated in the talks for four days said on Thursday that the parties succeeded in agreeing to a number of significant items, such as salary, healthcare and pension contributions, but were ultimately "unable to bridge the gap'' on the work rules.

What these "work rules" are exactly are unclear - no one has yet to provide a list. And because of that, the spin about the rules was spinning out of control. According to the union, they revolve around "nepotism" and "sexism" and work schedules. Some employees work four-day, 10-hour shifts while others work five-day, eight-hour shifts. Union officials said BART wanted to schedule people as they saw fit.

According to BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost, some rules are about the fact that BART workers don't want to get rid of fax machines. More specifically, BART officials say these work rules make it difficult to implement technological changes or add extra service on holidays because of a special event.

BART unions had offered to have these rules be put in front of an arbitrator, but said management refused.

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute estimates a strike will conservatively cost the Bay Area $73 million a day in lost worker productivity.

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