The impending BART strike was averted for a second time, this time by Californian Governor Jerry Brown. The governor issued an eleventh hour order to halt the strike.
In it, Brown named a board investigators to look into the contract dispute for seven days. The dispute had threatened to shut down the Bay Area Rapid Transit System starting on Monday.
The BART system is the fifth-largest public transportation systems in the country and serves about 400,000 customers per day. Brown’s order to halt the strike is part of a law that allows the state to intervene if the strike could significantly disrupt public transportation services.
The Associated Press reports that, in the order, the California governor urged both sides “in the strongest terms possible” to come to an agreement quickly.
BART’s two largest unions have been threatening a strike for more than a month after they have been unable to agree on a new contract with BART’s managers. The two sides spend several hours at the bargaining table on Saturday and Sunday in the hopes of averting a strike.
But big differences remained between the two sides by 10:30 pm on Sunday, when the governor’s order was issued, reports NBC News. The main sticky issues are still pension, health care, and wages for workers. BART also issued a release on Sunday, explaining it asked the governor to issue a cooling off period for negotiations.
The statement explained that a cooling off period would “allow us to continue negotiating while assuring the public that it will have transit service tomorrow.”
If the order hadn’t been issued to halt the impending strike, transit agencies planned to add bus and ferry service, along with keeping carpool lanes open all day as a way to handle the traffic flow. They also encouraged workers to telecommute and avoid peak traffic hours if possible.
Do you think the BART strike will happen, or will negotiators be able to come to an agreement?
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]