By Keith Laing
The unions for BART employees, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), have said they are prepared to strike for a second time this year, following a weeklong walkout that occurred in July.
"In order to avoid a strike, we agree to continue bargaining for one more day in order for the riders, our workers, and the Bay Area get the resolution to these drawn-out negotiations they deserve,” SEIU 1021 Executive Director Pete Castelli said in a statement Monday.
“We give this notice at this hour so that the public can know that the trains will run tomorrow and that there is no need for them to make alternative commute plans,” Castelli continued. “However, we want to be clear that if we do not have a resolution by midnight tomorrow, we will be forced out on strike.”
The labor issues that are roiling the BART system have drawn national attention because the San Francisco transit normally trails only New York City's subway, Washington, D.C.'s Metrorail, Chicago's "L" and Boston's "T" subways in daily ridership among U.S. public transportation agencies.
Leaders for the unions have said that they were trying to achieve better pay and safer working conditions for BART workers in the contentious negotiations.