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Elsewhere: SF Biz Times Strike averted, BART to run Monday SFist UPDATE: Strike Canceled, BART and ATU Reach Tentative Deal Chron BART strike averted, tentative deal reached, Amid BART talks, police chief says he’ll retire Revenue report tells BART’s tale CBS5 yells NO BART STRIKE; NEW DEAL REACHED

7:06 PM: Though BART’s public affairs office had canceled tonight’s scheduled 6 PM media briefing, saying they had “no new news to report,” an hour later they pulled a switcheroo, and announced that “a tentative contract deal has been reached with the Amalgamated Transit Union to avert a scheduled strike” and that BART will run, as usual, on Monday.

So, the short answer is that you can ride BART tomorrow, longer one is that ATU and BART management still look like they have a lot to talk about. We’ll keep you posted.

7:18 (BCN): BART board vice president James Fang of San Francisco told reporters he believes that there has been a tentative agreement between BART management officials and members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 that will avert a strike planned for midnight.

Fang said he thinks averting the strike is “the greatest thing for the Bay Area.”

Arriving at he negotiation site immediately after Fang, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said he was told there has been a tentative agreement but it still needs to be ratified by members of ATU Local 1555.

Newsom said “I couldn’t be more proud” that there is a tentative agreement and thanked both the BART board and labor.

8:54 (BCN): Bay Area residents avoided a commuting nightmare when BART’s management and leaders of its second-largest union announced tonight that they’ve reached a tentative agreement that averts a strike that had been set to begin Monday morning.

BART Board President Thomas Blalock and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 President Jesse Hunt were joined by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and other elected officials when they delivered the good news for commuters shortly before 7 p.m. outside the site at 22nd Street and Broadway in downtown Oakland where negotiations have been going on since April 1.

“The big winners here are the people who live around the Bay Area,” Newsom said. “Tomorrow will be like any other day for commuters.”

However, Newsom warned that, “This is only a tentative agreement and there will be outstanding work and a membership vote.”

Hunt, whose union represents 900 train operators, station agents and power workers, said he will recommend that his members approve the agreement, saying it is “much more equitable” than a previous tentative agreement with management that his members rejected by a two-to-one margin last Monday.

Hunt said, “There are no guarantees in life,” but he is “confident” his members will approve the tentative pact because he thinks it is “a solid agreement.”

He said the vote probably will take place early next week, although a date hasn’t yet been set.

Two other BART unions voted last week to approve management’s contract offer but their leaders said they would have respected picket lines if ATU Local 1555 had gone on strike.

Those unions are the BART chapter of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, the transit agency’s largest union, which represents about 1,500 mechanics, custodians, safety inspects and clerical employees, and American Federation of Local, State and Municipal Employees Union Local 3993, which represents about 200 middle managers.

Blalock said he didn’t want to disclose the details of the tentative agreement because ATU Local 1555’s members haven’t been told the details yet.

However, BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said it eliminates work rules that management believes are inefficient and costly and achieves $100 million in labor costs savings to help the transit agency cope with its large budget deficit, which it estimates to be $310 million over the next four years.

Hunt, who had hoped that the new contract would only be for two years, said the agreement calls for a four-year contract, which has been the standard length of BART union contracts for many years.

BART labor contracts expire on June 30 every four years but there wasn’t an agreement by that date this year, which also has been the case in most other labor negotiations over the years.

Dugger said, “I’m not satisfied” that an agreement came late again this year and admitted “we still have some improvements to make” in reaching agreements in a more timely fashion.

She said, “We regret the inconvenience and the uncertainty we created for the public but at least there will be uninterrupted service.”

Hunt said, “We regret it (an agreement) had to come about this way but said he’s also happy that service won’t be disrupted.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement, “I applaud both Amalgamated Transit Union and BART for working through their differences and reaching an agreement before immensely impacting Bay Area commuters with a strike.”

He said, “With this agreement, the hundreds of thousands of Californians that rely on the services BART provides will be able to continue to conduct their everyday business without interruption. I commend both sides for coming to a resolution.”

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 eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • Rita

    did Newsom even have anything to do with the negotiations?

  • Rita

    did Newsom even have anything to do with the negotiations?

  • Eve Batey

    Rita. He went all the way over to Oakland, on a Sunday night. He will probably miss True Blood and Mad Men. WHY ARE YOU SO HARD ON HIM.

  • Eve Batey

    Rita. He went all the way over to Oakland, on a Sunday night. He will probably miss True Blood and Mad Men. WHY ARE YOU SO HARD ON HIM.

  • Rita

    Newsom is totally Don Draper.

  • Rita

    Newsom is totally Don Draper.

  • Eve Batey

    Hey, now. Newsom doesn’t smoke.

  • Eve Batey

    Hey, now. Newsom doesn’t smoke.