Friday, October 11, 2013

BART operations continue through weekend

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BART trains will continue to operate through most of the weekend of Oct. 12-13, 2013, as union representatativs and management agreed to extend contract talks late Thursday, Oct. 10, in an effort to reach contract agreement.

But union reps warned a strike could occur early Monday morning if no deal is reached. The three-day extension was tacked onto 60-day cooling-off period ordered by California Gov. Jerry Brown, which expired at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday night.

The unions said they were encouraged that elected legislative leaders and BART directors were now directly involved in the talks, and that BART General Manager herself Grace Crunican was set to appear at the bargaining sessions Friday.

"The unions are continuing to negotiate and (we) hope to avoid a strike," Roxanne Sanchez, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told local media. "We want to get this done. The 72-hour notice is because the public is expecting to know something. Everybody wants to know how this will end."

At issue are wage increases and other benefits, with the sides reportedly about $16 million apart in their respective positions.

BART carries roughly 400,000 riders each weekday in the San Francisco Bay Area.