BART Union Strike Likely After Talks Break Down

San Francisco, CA — One of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit’s largest unions will probably go on strike, according to a chief negotiator who cited a break down in negotiations.

Josie Mooney is a negotiator for SEIU, Local 1021, who said it is very likely that her union, along with the ATU, Local 1555, will go on strike on Monday after its contract expires Sunday.

Mooney’s union represents more than 1,433 BART workers, including mechanics, professional staff, and maintenance workers. The union could still return to the bargaining table, but Mooney said that will only happen if BART submits a significantly better proposal than the one already on the table.

Union negotiators have been waiting for a proposal from BART since Friday and expressed their frustration at how long they have been waiting for what they hoped would be a meaningful offer from the system’s leaders. However, it appeared to the negotiators that a meaningful offer is still a ways off.

Antonette Bryant, ATU Local 1555 president, stated, “We have waited patiently. We are ready to negotiate, we are willing to negotiate.” BART spokesman Rick Rice explained that the transit agency was ready to resume talks when the mediator for the state announced the union bargaining teams had left. He explained:

“We have an improved offer that we would like to share with them and talk about. We’ve been working very hard on that proposal.”

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The new proposal will raise BART’s salary offer of one percent for each of four years. It will also reduce the amount employees will have to contribute to their pensions and lowers health care premium cost requirements.

Meanwhile, the unions have said they would like a five percent annual raise, plus a two percent yearly cost-of-living adjustment. BART says the proposal would add up to 23.2 percent over four years. The majority of BART station agents and train operators currently earn salaries in the range of $60,000 per year. They also bring in about $11,000 to $16,000 in overtime.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume at 11 am on Sunday, though it is unclear if the union negotiators will appear. A BART strike could affect the 400,000 riders who use the rail system every day.

[Image via ShakataGaNai]