You dodged another possible BART strike today. While you were fast asleep last night dreaming of a BART contract, the unions announced they would not walk off the job today, despite not having a deal in place.
According to news reports, the unions offered up a new proposal last night, but details were not released. BART management is considering the plan, buying commuters one more day of running trains and commute anxiety.
BART issued the following statement at about 1 a.m. today:
Talks continue. We apologize the Bay Area continues to have to wait until the middle of the night to find out if union leadership will allow the trains to run each morning. We hope we can get this situation resolved quickly so the uncertainty can come to an end.
Commuters were preparing for a transportation breakdown upon opening their eyes this morning after BART unions pretty much said they were going to walk off the job unless some miracle occurred. At about 5 p.m., Pete Castelli, executive director of the SEIU local, told the Chron that "Unless something breaks, and there is a Hail Mary, there will be a strike."
The reason why: BART management had put its "last and final offer" on the table yesterday, giving the unions two weeks to take it to its members for a vote. The plan called for a 12 percent raise over four years among other things that just weren't going to fly with the unions.
Meanwhile, legislators and community leaders have been begging BART to withdraw its take-it-or-leave-it offer and continue talking. BART General Manager Grace Crunican said the offer was a good deal and refused to budge.
In walks the federal mediator, who flew to Oakland yesterday to try to accomplish something nobody else can: get a damn labor contract in place -- now. While that didn't happen, the mediator, George Cohen, said things were at the very least moving on the right track.
"The bargaining has produced some productive" negotiations, Cohen told the Chron.
Both sides took a short break after talking through the night and will resume negotiations again at 1 p.m. Until then, you can expect a normal commute. By the way, there is a 15-minute delay between Fremont and Bay Fair in the Daly City direction due to mechanical problems at this time, according to BART. Well, that is normal.