Talks between BART, union stalled -- like Bay Area commute -- as - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Talks between BART, union stalled -- like Bay Area commute -- as strike continues

Posted: Updated:

(CNN) -- Like its trains, contract talks involving Bay Area Rapid Transit remained at a standstill Friday night -- with no plans for even a return to the negotiating table to resolve the system's second strike in three months.

The standoff left many of Oakland and San Francisco's iconic bridges, streets and freeways clogged even more than usual during both the morning and evening rush hours on Friday, the first day in which the nation's fifth-largest train system has been shut down.

Union officials, at 5 p.m. (8 p.m. ET), publicly detailed what they described as a new plan to end the strike. It includes returning to the previous contract language on all outstanding issues, according to negotiator Josie Mooney. They also offered to bring in a mediator to address the points of contention -- which it says does not include the economic part of any deal, because it says that already has been agreed to -- but rather other issues.

"These (are) real, genuine, thoughtfully written ... steps that will settle all disputes on the table," said Roxanne Sanchez, president of the local Service Employees International Union. "...It's not we win or they lose, but the trains (would be) running."

BART management quickly dismissed the proposal "as simply a repeat" of a previous "unacceptable" offer, said spokesman Jim Allison. BART is open to mediation, but only if it's on the whole package rather than "cherry-picking the parts they like and leaving behind the parts they don't like."

"We're calling on union leaders to return to the bargaining table that continues (to address) all of the issues as a whole," Allison said.

BART, whose system normally serves 26 communities including San Francisco and Oakland, has chartered buses during the strike for highly limited but free rush-hour service. Buses departed certain stations in the morning directly for San Francisco, then carried passengers back to those stations in the afternoon.

That was expected to help about 6,000 passengers in each direction, according to BART.

Still, that's just a fraction of the roughly 400,000 people who use the service daily. And for some of them -- like those behind a petition to ban BART strikes, as is done for other transit systems around the nation -- patience is running thin.

"I think the public would have such bad blood this time around for both BART and the unions," BART rider Kyle Brunnette, 53, told CNN affiliate KTVU before trains stopped earlier this week.

BART and workers' unions have been negotiating a new contract for months. Union leaders said the latest strike was called because management made a late push to change worker rules, the framework governing issues such as how work is assigned and what shifts people can work.

This came after the unions made concessions to reach an "economic framework agreement" -- after six months of talks -- on wages, pensions and health care, Pete Castelli, a local executive director of the Service Employees International Union, said Friday.

"Basically what management did was produce, in essence, a poison pill, saying, 'Great, we made this amazing progress after six months, we have an economic framework agreement. But wait, there's more. You must take this now,' " Castelli said. "At that point ... the negotiations broke down."

BART objected to that characterization in a couple of ways. First, the sides haven't agreed on wages, BART spokesman Rick Rice said.

"We're still at a 12% pay increase over four years (at 3% per year)," he said. "The union's last proposal was higher than that."

Second, Rice said, changes to worker rules -- such as ditching a regulation that requires communicating with handwritten notes and faxing in favor of using more modern technology -- have "been in our package since April 1."

"How they can think this is a surprise is simply not credible," he said.

Castelli said he wants BART to agree to arbitration on the worker rules, but not on the economic issues, which he considered all but set.

Rice, though, said that was unacceptable.

"We can't split the package apart," he said. "We can't take one part of this -- the work rules -- to arbitration (and) leave the rest of it on the table to negotiate."

BART said earlier this week that its "best and final proposal" included the wage raises as well as increases in pensions and medical coverage.

The BART board would take the whole package -- "because we do not have agreement on the salary increases," she said -- to binding arbitration. The unions seek "20% plus salary increases," she said.

"The issues that remain unresolved are not minor. We cannot get tired and give up. They get to the heart of BART's need to function efficiently and economically," the BART general manager said.

Castelli apologized to the area's commuters.

"We're very sorry. We understand that this strike -- what it does to the Bay Area riders, and we understand that it is a hardship. ... We apologize," he said. "We urge the public to contact the BART district and tell them to finish negotiating a fair deal with our union."

BART workers also went on strike in the summer, paralyzing the San Francisco regional transportation system for four days in July.

  • Crosstown Rollover Sends One Man To The Hospital And He Gets A Ticket To Boot

    Crosstown Rollover Sends One Man To The Hospital And He Gets A Ticket To Boot

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:06 AM EDT2014-04-20 13:06:47 GMT
    Sounds of a wild rollover crash could be heard for blocks over on the Westside of the City. The accident happened just after 12:30 on Sunday morning on the Crosstown freeway near Gollihar. According to police the driver was traveling southbound on the expressway and tried to avoid another vehicle on the road. Investigators say he swerved into another lane and lost control. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He will also be given ticket for not staying in his own ...More >>
    Sounds of a wild rollover crash could be heard for blocks over on the Westside of the City. The accident happened just after 12:30 on Sunday morning on the Crosstown freeway near Gollihar. According to police the driver was traveling southbound on the expressway and tried to avoid another vehicle on the road. Investigators say he swerved into another lane and lost control. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He will also be given ticket for not staying in his own ...More >>
  • Update: 5 Workers Arrested During Banquete Game Room Bust

    Update: 5 Workers Arrested During Banquete Game Room Bust

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:00 PM EDT2014-04-20 03:00:15 GMT
    Another game room bust, this one happening in Banquete late Friday night. The Nueces County Sheriff's Office raided two game rooms and both of them were packed with players. The sheriff's office had under cover officers look into two game rooms, one in Banquete and the other just south of Robstown. Not only is it alleged that the game room paying out money, but the game room in Banquete was also a fire trap since there was only one way in and one way out. The Banquete game room had been ...More >>
    Another game room bust, this one happening in Banquete late Friday night. The Nueces County Sheriff's Office raided two game rooms and both of them were packed with players. The sheriff's office had under cover officers look into two game rooms, one in Banquete and the other just south of Robstown. Not only is it alleged that the game room paying out money, but the game room in Banquete was also a fire trap since there was only one way in and one way out. The Banquete game room had been ...More >>
  • Residents Startled by Gun Fire

    Residents Startled by Gun Fire

    Saturday, April 19 2014 10:45 PM EDT2014-04-20 02:45:09 GMT
    Residents woke up to the sound of gun shots in one westside neighborhood Saturday morning. The incident happened just before 2:30 Saturday morning at a home near the intersection of Cortez and Baldwin Boulevard. Police later told 3 News that one man was arrested, but only for public intoxication. Police say the man put up a struggle with officers.More >>
    Residents woke up to the sound of gun shots in one westside neighborhood Saturday morning. The incident happened just before 2:30 Saturday morning at a home near the intersection of Cortez and Baldwin Boulevard. Police later told 3 News that one man was arrested, but only for public intoxication. Police say the man put up a struggle with officers.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KIII. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.