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Monday, July 13, 2009

Union Head: No BART Strike This Week. As For Next Week -- That's a Train of a Different Color.

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 10:59 AM

click to enlarge Unlike a BART train, a BART strike is better never than late.
  • Unlike a BART train, a BART strike is better never than late.
The nastiness level of the atmosphere surrounding BART's negotiations with its six unions may have gone up a notch -- the train operators' union has responded to management's insinuations that they're a bunch of overpaid schlubs by posting a photo of BART's chief spokesman dressed as a large fruit on the union Web site. Still, you can ride the rails this week without fear of getting stranded in Pittsburg for good. Until Friday, at least.

Jesse Hunt, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 1555 said that, no matter what the outcome of this week's contract votes, the earliest possible strike date would be next week. His union's membership is scheduled to cast its votes tomorrow while the much larger SEIU Local No. 1021 will vote Thursday. The two unions represent about two-thirds of BART's unionized employees.

Following the two votes -- and it's a good bet both unions will give the thumbs-down -- "All parties agreed we would contact the state mediators again to schedule additional meetings with the management side," said Hunt.

Hunt added that if both unions turn down the contract currently on the table, and if subsequent talks aren't fruitful, their next step would be to appeal to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant a 60-day "cooling-off" period in the negotiations.

BART management, however, last month sent a letter to the governor urging him not to grant a cooling-off period. Agency spokesman Linton Johnson -- that's him in the banana costume, yes -- reiterated today to SF Weekly that BART still opposes any cooling-off period.

Hunt categorized this attitude as management putting its needs ahead of those of the riders. It'll be interesting to see what photographs crop up on his union's Web site next.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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