Tensions growing between BART, SEIU

June 10, 2009 5:32:20 PM PDT
With a contract deadline looming just three weeks from now, tensions are growing between Bay Area Rapid Transit and its union employees.

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Members of the Service Employees International Union staged a protest Wednesday at the Embarcadero Station in San Francisco.

The SEIU employees are upset that the BART board has asked the governor not to declare a 60 day cooling off period, if the two sides cannot reach an agreement by June 30 when the current contract expires.

"There are a couple of weeks left, maybe there is a possibility we could put together a contract to do that, to me, is to put the Bay Area in gridlock, it certainly sends a bad message to the riding public," SEIU spokesperson John Maher said.

BART is asking its unions for $100 million in givebacks to help close a budget deficit. They say a cooling off period would only delay an agreement, and would expire just before a four day closure of the Bay Bridge, planned for Labor Day weekend.

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