The most recent word on BART contract negotiations is that, in the wake of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555’s rejection of the proposed contract, BART and the ATU restarted negotiations at 1 this afternoon.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, represents about 900 train operators, station agents and power workers, according to BART spokesman Linton Johnson said. Even though BART’s other two unions voted for the contract, it can’t move forward until the ATU agrees to it.

BART spokesman Linton Johnson said Monday night that BART management will schedule a special meeting and will consider whether to impose terms and conditions on ATU workers. If terms are imposed, the chances for a strike increase pretty dramatically — and, if that happens, while the unions that agreed to the contract could not join their brethren in a picket line, they would not cross said line, either.

While there have been regular calls with the media during this negotiation period, a source close to the negotiations told us “this call is important.” But who knows. Right now, we’re just on hold, listening to someone type. Mute, people, It’s called mute.

3:05 PM: Breathing, vague rubbing sounds. Think that was a burp? Did we mention “mute”?

3:07 PM: Just yelled at the dog. Then hysterically checked “mute” button to make sure I didn’t just pot/kettle big time. Also, sounds like somebody’s printing something.

“It’s never a good thing to have a strike, but sometimes you have to take short term pain to prevent long term damage” 3:13 PM: God bless The Examiner’s Katie Worth! She just asked what the deal was with being on hold, it turns out the conference had been going on, they just fucked up the phone. Rad. So now we’re in.

Linton Johnson’s now saying that since ATU is not willing to accept the same concessions the other unions are, they need to “figure out what to do next.” OK, sorry, we’re just trying to figure out what the heck is going on, since they just let phone participants in. “We’re back to square one” he says

What’s up with today’s negotiations? Today’s new meetings (to start “at any moment”) are about to start, the meetings will go on “for as long as they’re productive.” This is the ATU’s first meeting with the BART board since the last negotiations.

Katie Worth asks, since ATU seems to see the four-year contract as a sticking point, did BART consider a four year contract? Johnson says they had actually discussed a two year contract, which the unions had turned down. “ATU is playing games, it is disingenuous that they rejected a two year contract during the negotiation process and said they wanted a four year contract.”

Re BART deficit, is a fare increase an option? No, Johnson says. BART customers are “paying enough already.”

If the BART board were to impose a contract, would the terms be those from the tentative agreement? Not necessarily, they might go back to a previous one.

What attitude are the negotiators going to the table with? Asks someone who sounds like the Chron’s Rachel Gordon. “With the attitude of trying to figure out why the ATU rejected the contract.”

Is there any chance for an agreement tonight? We hope so.

Was there any sign that the ATU would not go for this? Is there a gap between the ATU leaders and members? The vote speaks for itself regarding the gap.

“It’s never a good thing to have a strike” said Johnson at the close of the call. “But sometimes you have to take short term pain to prevent long term damage”

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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