Bad News, Commuters: BART Unions Vote to Authorize Strike

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BART labor talks come to a complete stop
Update 4 p.m: BART Board President Tom Radulovich fired off a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown asking that he not grant a cooling-off period should union leaders request one. A 60-day cooling off period would shift the potential for a strike during the slower summer months to September, which is historically one of BART's highest ridership months in the year. Read the full letter at the bottom of the story:

A tremendous majority of BART's two biggest unions have voted to authorize their organization heads to call a strike as early as Monday, if need be. If that happens, you might want to start cashing in those personal days at work.

The two unions, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and Service Employees International Union Local 1021, had previously met with BART negotiators on Monday and last Friday, but have yet to resolve issues over their labor contract which is set to expire on June 30.

However, negotiations between the unions and BART reps are scheduled to continue today.

Rick Rice, spokesman for BART, told us that the unions and BART have reached agreement on eight points, and he thinks there is a deal to be made regarding salaries and health care, as well.

"We don't really want to see the Bay Area in traffic Armageddon," said Rice. "Traffic is going to be a nightmare if the trains aren't running."

When we spoke with Antonette Bryant, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, she was headed back to the bargaining table, and rushed off the phone. However, she's been most outspoken regarding BART safety issues, specifically, the concern over violence against both commuters and BART employees. Earlier this week, the unions filed a lawsuit against BART, claiming BART managers were not bargaining in good faith and addressing the crime.

The last time a BART strike occurred was in 1997, when roughly 275,000 people were riding the trains daily. BART currently carries roughly 400,000 riders every day, and while there would be extra bus and ferry service if a strike were to be called, you can bet the Bay Area will be home to one cranky workforce should BART employees walkout.

We'll keep you posted on this very pressing issue.

Update: Here's the letter from BART board members to the governor:

BART Board President Letter to Governor




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18 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Why isn't the SF Weekly listed among the "More From Voice Nation" publications at the top of the page?

Are you the bastard red-headed step-child of VN media?


aliasetc
aliasetc topcommenter

BARF sucks!

Bubu
Bubu

Well, all this posturing! Will it make our system any better? If there is a strike, it exemplifies the fact management and the unions do not get along. So, how can an organization be functional if mamangement does not have the interest of their employees in mind? As a matter of fact some companies like Catepillar, take such good care of their employees the Unions said..." you don't need us." Nobody wants a strike, so I hope this mess gets resolved by Monday. Or else its time for the people to revolt and take back their public transportation from the bureaucrats and the Unions.

Brandan Podestá
Brandan Podestá

Worker safety important, sure, but a 25% pay raise when they already make 100k a year, have full benefits and don't pay into them,I don't think so. Quit complaining and get back to work. But hey, it's our own fault for creating a society full of entitlement.

Stan James
Stan James

This is important because I have seen I lot more pan-handlers on the trains and when BART expands its that much more trouble to anticipate. The thought of being on a train with an ignorant person with a gun scares me!

Andrea E Taylor
Andrea E Taylor

I'm sorry, but this is another reason why even though I love to visit San Francisco for vacation, I will not live there. Just too much craziness that this is allowed. And I live in Chicago where I commute for work. Can you imagine if Metra train or CTA workers were to go on strike, you know what would hit the fan.

Christopher Hayward
Christopher Hayward

They the BART workers are doing this because of job safety. Not because they hate their fellow riders or are worried about money or insurance. The number one factor is frontline worker safety, period !!! The BART worker's should not have to be the police force and social services counselor rolled up into one. This is what BART has been doing for many years. Now the BART frontline workers have reached the breaking point. A lot of people claim, oh I could do there job. Oh their lazy, overpaid. Yet would anyone of us last doing frontline workers job ? Even for one day, I would say no. Some rude person made a comment about BART not being clean. Well if most of you have kept up with the latest news. BART has cut money for cleaning it's stations. Due to our past bad economy of 2008. Now BART has said they will bring back spending for cleaning up BART stations. Things can not happen overnight but the public needs to have an understanding of what the frontline BART workers are going through.

William Dolan
William Dolan

Awesome, they should strike! Time to Close the System Down!!!!!!!

William Dolan
William Dolan

Awesome, they should strike! Time to Close the System Down!!!!!!!

塞繆塞繆
塞繆塞繆

California should shut down BART and have a NEW company that knows how to run Bart the right way! And have COPS at all stops and trains not like they have now! This so fucked up during the week of July 4th

Andrea E Taylor
Andrea E Taylor

And consisering that next week is 4th of July week when a lot of tourists will visit (including myself) the Unions are going to try to pick this Monday to strike??!! Stupid. Just plain stupid

Mark Lemmerman
Mark Lemmerman

BART workers are just a bunch of terrorists that hold the Bay Area hostage every time they want to renew their contract.

petermgunn
petermgunn

@Stan James You mean like BART police?

Bubu
Bubu

I agree, but when you say "workers" that kinda excludes managers. Managers at BART are just as bad if not worst. They aren't worth the money!

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