Bay Area Transit Workers Strike for 1st Time Since 1997

Trains will not run for the Monday morning commute, which could be a nightmare of gridlock and longer travel times.
July 1, 2013
 

After a breakdown in contract talks Sunday evening, BART workers are on strike.

About 15 workers from the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 announced at midnight that their contact had expired without a new offer from BART, and then they walked across the street to start picketing at the Lake Merritt BART station.

There were a couple of motorists driving by who honked their horns in recognition of the strike, the first at BART since 1997, which lasted six days.

Trains will not run for the Monday morning commute, which could be a nightmare of gridlock and longer travel times.

"We're on strike. We're disappointed BART didn't make a new offer," said Antonette Bryant, president of ATU

Local 1555.

Negotiators for BART's two largest employee unions left a bargaining session in Oakland late Sunday, after saying they wanted BART to improve its latest proposal made Saturday. But BART was expecting unions to make a counter proposal.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said state mediators presiding over the talks left after union representatives.

Bryant said, "We didn't walk out. BART told us they had nothing new to give us. There was no reason to stay."

However, she said her union would be ready to resume bargaining if BART made a new offer.

The strike will idle a train system that carries riders on 400,000 trips per weekday in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo counties -- with nearly half of those trips made between the East Bay and San Francisco.

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