In an announcement delivered moments ago, a phalanx of BART union and management personnel declared an end to the four-day-old strike, while flanked by the handful of local politicians who could be summoned to stand around and look serious in the cold.
That statement, like the ongoing BART saga writ large, was a tortured and drawn-out dirge that came far later than anyone would have desired.
The slings and arrows and long- and short-term winners and losers will shake out in due time, but, this much is official: If you show up at a BART station sometime Tuesday afternoon, there figures to be a train to take you where you want ago. Perhaps there'll even be "limited service" in the morning
"Tonight the hardworking men and women who keep the Bay Area working can go back to work and make BART the most efficient ... system in the country," said John Arantes, president of the SEIU 1021 BART chapter.
The tentative agreement reached Monday will go up for a vote by the members of BART's unions and must be approved by the system's Board of Directors.
The announcement comes just two days after a pair of BART track workers were killed when struck by a train
ostensibly in automatic mode with an "experienced operator" at the controls.
That incident is now under investigation by the National Transit Safety Board, with ramifications pending.
Reports the fatal train trip was part of a training operation
for potential non-union operators have surfaced -- tragically disproving the adage about there being no such thing as bad publicity. Whether this sad accident hastened today's settlement will also shake out (and likely sooner rather than later).
The ostensible conclusion of the strike puts a merciful end to an utterly tortured negotiating process featuring a strike
; a state-mandated 60-day cooling-off period
; nightly jerk-the-ridership-around sessions of waiting until midnight to announce an identical session the next night; another strike
; and the aforementioned lethal tragedy.
Oh, also: Management's Cheneyesque negotiator, Tom Hock, missed last-minute sessions
to give a lecture at Disneyland. His speech's legitimately ironic title: "The Art of Negotiating the Deal."
But, that's BART. And the only thing worse than bitching about BART is bitching about not having BART to bitch about.