BART service resumes after crippling 4-day strike; contract talks continue

SAN FRANCISCO

The unions and BART have not agreed on a new contract. The deal they agreed upon late Thursday night is to extend the two striking unions' existing contract for 30 days. BART employees will go back to work as negotiations continue for the next month.

Once a new contract is approved, it will be retroactive to July 1, the day that the previous contract had expired.

As the two parties broke off negotiations after a marathon session, California Secretary of Labor Marty Morgenstern announced that the parties will return to work Friday morning and have trains running "in time for the Giants game."

It was clear something was up at the Caltrans building at about 11 p.m. when all the negotiators exited the building together. That's after 12 hours of negotiations. It came after a contentious day in which union leaders told th eir members they weren't even close to an agreement and were concerned that BART leaders would impose a contract on them. That, however, did not happen.

"We're very, very pleased that these workers will be back to work and the trains will be running again in the Bay Area," Morgenstern said. "The battle's not over, the job's not done, and everybody will be working just as hard as they have these last few days between now and August 4 to see to it that they have a good contract that pays the workers fairly, keeps the trains running on time, and improves the BART system."

"I want to tell the riders that we deeply regret the inconvenience that they've been caused and we want to express our commitment to do everything we know how to achieve a fair agreement," SEIU Local 1021 chief negotiator Josie Mooney said.

BART spokesperson Alicia Trost says service is expected to be restored by 3 p.m.

"The good news is BART is finally buzzing again," she said. "Behind the scenes there's a lot going on. We're getting all of our staffing levels up. We got our shops being staffed, the yards, the station, the control room, just to get those trains out the door by 3 p.m. We have to make sure there's tickets in the ticket vending machine. We have to make sure there's money and change for the passengers. We're making sure the trains are clean. Remember, that the strike happened after Pride Parade. It was record breaking numbers. We need to make sure those trains are cleaned for our customers at 3 p.m."

Trost adds that the goal is to have a normal 3 p.m. Friday schedule.

Before dawn, riders lined up to catch shuttle buses to San Francisco. Many are glad that BART trains will be rolling again, but fear the 30 day contract extension could mean another strike in August.

"In 30 days, if that time passes by, we'll be back to square one again," BART rider Anna Kumar said. "So, they really need to get this together."

Fellow BART rider Bridget Burdick added, "I feel like they coulda done that in the first place. Why strike and then agree to come back until you figure something out. But I'm thankful for the buses, so thank you BART for the buses."

The transit agency provided seven shuttles from several East Bay locations that were first come first serve. But it wasn't enough, and many riders in Walnut Creek were left behind.

"It's extremely inconveniencing," BART rider Cheryl Gonzalez said. "Yeah, I mean, some of us do have to work today."

There were so many complaints from so frustrated riders that BART had to find another bus.

Stay with ABC7NEWS.COM for updates on the BART strike and information on how to get around while the trains aren't running. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and download our news app for the latest news whenever and wherever you want.

(Bay City News contributed to this report)

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