Saturday, June 29, 2013

 

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit's strike 'likely' Monday

A negotiator for a San Francisco rapid transit union says there's a 95 percent chance of a strike Monday, which could affect more than 400,000 people.





San Francisco rapid transit strike possible: Union leader Dwight McElroy, center, conducts interviews in Oakland, Calif.
Union leader Dwight McElroy, center, conducts interviews alongside fellow union members Friday, June 28, in Oakland, Calif.
OAKLAND, Calif. — A chief negotiator said Saturday that two of San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit's largest unions will "likely" go on strike.

Josie Mooney, a negotiator for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 said there's "a 95 percent chance" that her union and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1555 will be on strike Monday after their contracts expire late Sunday.

"I'm afraid I don't see a way we will avoid a strike," she said after union leaders left Saturday's negotiations claiming they have met with BART's management for only 10 minutes in the past 36 hours.

The walkout adds further speculation that a strike could derail the more than 400,000 riders who use the nation's fifth-largest rail system.
Mooney said the unions have no plans to meet with BART on Sunday.

BART spokesman Rick Rice said Saturday said the agency still has a meeting scheduled with the unions Sunday. He said BART has submitted its second new proposal to the unions since Thursday.

"We called our mediator to deliver it to them and informed us they had left the building," Rice said. "Maybe they will show a willingness to come back to the table. We'll still be here.".

A work stoppage that could start as early as Monday would be chaotic for commuters and affect every mode of transportation, clogging highways and bridges throughout the Bay Area.

The unions want a 5 percent annual raise over the next three years. BART said Saturday that train operators and station agents in the unions average about $71,000 in base salary and $11,000 in overtime annually. The workers also pay a flat $92 monthly fee for health insurance.

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