The Bay Area could see its second BART strike in three months on Friday if the transit agency doesn’t reach a deal with its unions by midnight tonight. The two sides are closer together than they were back in August, but conflicting statements from the unions and management could be a bad sign.
On Wednesday night SEIU 1021 and ATU Local 1555 said the two sides were close to a deal, but BART pulled the offer. BART spokesman Jim Allison countered by saying "any suggestion that BART offered a proposal and withdrew it is categorically untrue."
BART officials just announced that negotiations will resume tonight at 6pm. BART spokesperson Rick Rice said, "After one full day of no meetings, we are eager to get back to the table.”
Tuesday’s commute seems to be shaping up to be worse than yesterday's. Freeways backed up sooner, ferry lines were longer, and the free shuttles that BART provided from five East Bay stations filled up quicker.
Meanwhile, BART and its unions have yet to sit down to talks since Sunday, although both sides did speak with a state mediator last night.
While BARTocalpyse was causing major trouble over in Oakland, the commuters at the El Cerrito del Norte BART station at the Richmond border seemed calm. That’s where I was this morning, trying to get to Potrero Hill in San Francisco.
Del Norte is one of the four stations in the East Bay where BART is providing a free roundtrip shuttle to Oakland and SF, and several main AC Transit lines run right by it. That might have helped congestion at the nearby casual carpool line, where there were about 20 cars waiting for riders to walk up.
BART has asked a state mediator to step in and help the stalled labor talks between the Bay Area transit agency and its five unions. The mediator, which unions have welcomed as well, is scheduled to start next week. The current labor contract expires on June 30.