BART Unions Give Notice: Strike on Monday

Same drill, round two. After almost a month of apparently fruitless negotiations, the unions gave a 72-hour notice of going on strike. Unless an agreement is reached, 200,000 Bay Area rail riders will need to find alternatives for the Monday commute
August 2, 2013, 10am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Mike Rosenberg, Matt O'Brien and Brittny Mejia write that the 72-hour notice "does not guarantee a shutdown but essentially starts a clock that will expire at 11:59 p.m. Sunday for management and unions to reach a deal. They remained far apart on the key issues of pay and contributions to health care and pensions."

Should Bay Area Rapid Transit, responsible for 400,000 daily trips, shutdown on August 05, it is expected to hit commuters harder than round one when many workers were off for the July 4th holiday. The first strike began Monday, July 01, and ended, if only temporarily, four and one half days later on Friday afternoon, July 05. While no contract agreement had been reached, the Amalgamated Transit Union, who also went on strike August 01 halting 40% of metro Phoenix bus routes, the local Service Employees International Union and management chose to continue negotiations for one month while workers would return to work under the current contract through Aug. 04.

Perhaps partly explaining why the sides haven't reached an agreement, Rosenberg, O'Brien and Mejia write, "Labor activists and local religious leaders also characterized the negotiations as part of a larger fight to keep the labor movement strong in the Bay Area amid growing economic inequality."

"It's going to exacerbate inequality" if the BART workers lose their fight, said Bob Allen, a public transit advocate for Oakland-based nonprofit group Urban Habitat.

BART has a contract for 95 charter buses should no agreement be reached by Monday, "slightly more than last time, (and) would cost the agency $114,000 a day." As with the July strike, ferry service from Oakland and Alameda would increase in frequency, but many commuters would resort to driving, leading to expected gridlock on the Bay Bridge.

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Published on Thursday, August 1, 2013 in San Jose Mercury News
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