BART deadline fast approaching

July 30, 2009 11:52:28 PM PDT
A deadline is fast approaching and the threats are flying. It now appears BART may be ready to force the hand of its unions by imposing new contracts -- and that could lead to a walkout.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7

Despite making progress, BART and its unions still have no deal.

"We are hoping to get a deal, a settlement by midnight, that is our deadline and in the event that we can't get one, the BART board has agreed they will meet and convene to consider adopting terms and conditions of employment," BART chief spokesperson Linton Johnson said.

"They've certainly told you a lot more than they've told us here at the table; that has not been expressed to us at the table, at the table is where the negotiations are supposed to happen," Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) President Jesse Hunt said.

That basically means BART is imposing the work rule and benefits concessions it has been asking for from the unions.

The last time BART did that was 1979, and the unions went on strike for 89 days.

"If they're going to impose a contract, that's basically slapping you in the face with a glove, throwing down the gauntlet, after that the reactions are pretty predictable," Service Employees International Union (SEIU) chief negotiator Larry Gerber said. "We've got a couple of things we can do, the most obvious is give them the 72-hour notice."

BART says it needs $100 million in concessions from its unions, in order to deal with a 4-year, $310 million deficit. They have been talking since April and working without a contract since July 9.

"I think it's just kind of childish, just come to some sort of agreement and don't cut the BART off, you're gonna have a lot of people upset," BART rider Crystal Pierce said.

BART regulations require that the board hold a public meeting with 24 hours notice before they can impose new contracts; board members have cleared their schedules for Saturday morning.

There is no word on what exactly will happen if a deal is not reached by midnight.

BART trains will be running Friday. BART's unions have promised to give the public 72 hours notice if they decide to walk off the job. LINK: Information on transit alternatives in the event of a BART strike

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments