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BART contract talks to resume Monday

September 15, 2013 1:03:11 PM PDT
BART contract talks are set to resume Monday morning. But a top executive with the transit agency has said that the two sides are far apart and warned another strike is likely when the court ordered 60-day cooling off period ends October 10.

BART officials are urging people to prepare for another potential strike, starting now.

Last week, BART said it may train 200 managers to operate trains if union workers go on strike again.

"That's a planning exercise right now. We're not sure that we're going to be able to do that, but I will say that's something that we're looking at," said BART's Asst. general manager Paul Oversier.

The last time the transit agency's managers operated the trains with passengers on them was during a strike was in 1979, when the unions went out for three months, creating huge backups on Bay Area freeways.

As it is now, contractually BART couldn't even begin to train any of its 200 managers until after a strike began.

"I would be extremely concerned if they're thinking about having managers run trains," said Antonette Bryant. She is the local president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents BART's 400 train operators. "Our train operators go through a 16 week period of training in order for them to be certified and they still have to have a 90-day probation on top of that 16 weeks to operate a train."

Whether or not managers operate the trains during a strike, BART does plan to increase bus service by 20 percent, up to 100 busses. That's still only about 1/8 of the busses needed to replace BART.

(ABC7 News reporter Laura Anthony contributed to this story)


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