BART negotiator: "Things are moving"

The 60-day cooling off period will soon end for BART and the unions, so Tuesday night union members rallied outside the negotiations.
October 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Bay Area Rapid Transit management and the unions are still negotiating over contract issues as they count down to the end of a 60-day cooling-off period. The possibility of a strike is prompting business leaders to come up with contingency plans.

The Bay Area Council is predicting that if a strike occurs, it will be worse than when the transit unions walked off the job in July. Many people don't have the luxury to decide when they can go into work so the group is asking for help from those with flexibility.

"So, for employers, we ask specifically that you allow employees to telecommute or allow employees to telecommute more often, or request them to do that," said Amy Worth of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. "If telecommuting doesn't work, then we ask that you relax your policies about core work hours so that employees can avoid the peak morning and evening commute times."

The Bay Area Council conducted a poll, asking people what they would do in the event of a BART strike. The findings left them concerned. Fifty percent of the respondents would drive their automobiles, 17 percent would work from home and 13 percent would carpool or rideshare.

BART management and its unions were back at the bargaining table Tuesday. BART's chief negotiator Tom Hock told ABC7 News he thinks the remaining 48 hours is plenty of time to get a deal done.

"Things are moving," Hock said. "I would tell you they aren't moving very fast. But you just got to play them out and see."

The afternoon was spent discussing the "generals" -- the wages, pensions and medical benefits in question.

The mediator has asked everyone to not discuss the ongoing negotiations and there is no word on how late into the night negotiations will continue.

Other union members are rallying tonight to show solidarity with the two unions who are currently in talks with BART management.

The rally and march started at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland Tuesday evening.

The group says there's a sense of urgency to end the negotiations before another strike.

Talks are scheduled to resume at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

ABC7 News reporters Amy Hollyfield, Healther Ishimaru and Alan Wang contributed to this report.


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