Tuesday, July 22, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 10 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

BART unions give notice of possible strike

By Terry Collins

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:46 p.m. HST, Jun 28, 2013

OAKLAND, Calif. >> Scores of commuters were scrambling to find alternate plans after two of San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit's largest unions gave notice they plan to go on strike if they can't get a new contract over the weekend.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," said a frustrated Veronica Scruggs, a San Francisco resident who takes the train to her custodial job at the State of California Office Building in downtown Oakland. "I'm trying to see if I can stay with some friends over here if BART goes on strike. I'm praying that they can get a deal done."

The unions gave 72-hour notice of a possible strike late Thursday night as a courtesy to passengers in preparation for a potentially chaotic Monday morning commute. The strike would start when their contracts expire at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

On Friday, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local President Antonette Bryant urged California Gov. Jerry Brown to issue a 60-day "cooling off" period "so we can sit down and seriously negotiate." BART officials earlier this week urged Brown not to issue such an order.

The governor's spokesman, Evan Westrup, declined to comment.

BART's last strike lasted six days in 1997. About 400,000 riders use BART each weekday. On Friday, area transit officials urged commuters to consider carpooling, taking buses or ferries, working from home and, if they must drive to work, leave earlier than usual.

Meanwhile, the unions' say its strike threat doesn't guarantee a walkout as around-the-clock negotiations are scheduled through the weekend.

Josie Mooney, a negotiator for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1021, said Friday outside Oakland's City Hall that talks were "fluid," as both sides want to avoid a strike. She said the parties are still going back and forth over salary, pensions, benefits and safety.

Employees want a 5 percent annual raise over the next three years. Currently, train operators and station agents are paid in the low $60,000 range. Employees average $16,590 in overtime annually and pay a flat $92 monthly fee for health insurance.

BART has offered a 1 percent raise annually over the next four years and wants employees to contribute to their pensions.

But Mooney, the BART workers' union rep said, "the economic package they have proposed is woefully inadequate given the fact that our workers haven't had a raise in nearly five years."

BART announced on Thursday that it was offering the unions a new contract proposal.

On Friday, BART spokesman Rick Rice said there was still "plenty of time" to reach an agreement.

"There was some progress yesterday, with both sides making proposals and responses," he said. "We're looking forward to continuing that when we meet again today and through the weekend."

Also Friday, the unions representing Oakland City clerical, public works and parking enforcement workers have called a 1-day strike on Monday outside City Hall.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 10 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
AhiPoke wrote:
THIS, is what we can expect when our rail system is up and running. Unions don't care that the state of California is going bankrupt and our transit unions will not care about our state's finances.
on June 28,2013 | 01:52PM
Really??, and I suppose you can associate this story to our teachers unions, steel workers unions, and any other union. Just because the union in California is on strike, how does that affect the "potential" union here in Hawaii. I guess since this is happening theren the only rational thought is: its gonna happen here too. Shesh! Last time I checked, we live in Hawaii.
on June 28,2013 | 03:22PM
Skyler wrote:
And we all know how our local Unions are such angels that they would never strike... especially in our time of need....am I right? *coughHECOcough* 8-|
on June 28,2013 | 04:07PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Unions exist for the benefit of their members not you. Get used to it. Its the way its been for decades. It takes two to tango, and when and yes sometimes management can be the problem.
on June 28,2013 | 04:43PM
BRock wrote:
Good post. Right on the money.
on June 28,2013 | 04:47PM
1local wrote:
get rid of all unions...
on June 28,2013 | 09:06PM
thevisitor967 wrote:
Well, since management isn't looking out for us it's good to know that someone--even if it's the union--IS.
on June 28,2013 | 05:12PM
lynnh wrote:
And the last time I checked, every union out here holds us hostage every chance they get.
on June 28,2013 | 11:05PM
lynnh wrote:
Hint... we are on our way to bankruptcy as well pretty soon down the road if we don't get these spending idiots out of office.
on June 28,2013 | 11:04PM
lynnh wrote:
Here we go again! Unions holding us hostage. It's time to kick unions the H E L L out of this country.
on June 28,2013 | 11:02PM
Breaking News