The labor negotiations have been going on for months now between BART and its labor unions, as the two sides have been trying to hash out a labor agreement. But as of midnight Thursday night, union leaders said workers will go on strike.
In a news conference on Thursday afternoon, Roxanne Sanchez, President of SEIU Local 1021, one of the unions that has been negotiating with BART, said the two sides are close to a deal, coming close to an agreement on economic, health care and pension issues. But management failed to agree to interest arbitration on the remaining issues, particularly on work rules.
The news conference came after a marathon negotiating session of almost 30 hours.
BART General Manager Grace Crunican said that after negotiating for such a long period, they asked the union to take their last contract offer to its membership, but union leaders refused to do so.
Federal mediators were brought in from Washington and seemed to be helping move the process along, as the sides inched closer to a deal. But mediator George Cohen said on Thursday that they are now returning to Washington and “there is nothing more we can do.”
Crunican said they are willing to continue to negotiate, but it appears both sides have dug in for the long haul and are unwilling to budge from their respective positions.
There are plenty of alternatives for those looking to get across the Bay, who may normally take BART. AC Transit and ferries are a good way to get around and casual carpooling is also an option. BART plans to run bus shuttles from some of its East Bay stations as well. Working from home, if allowed, is also a great option. But in the case of a strike, be aware there will be plenty of extra cars on the roadways and plan ahead.
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