6:58 PM: Union officials said they would move forward with plans for a BART strike on Monday after walking out of contract talks today.
Union leaders called BART a “no-show” at today’s talks in a statement released this evening, saying they walked out after waiting for management negotiators.
“BART management is engaging in what is called “surface-bargaining,” said Jose Mooney, spokesperson for Service Employees International Union 1021.
“They’re trying to appear in public like they are working to keep the trains running, but they’re doing nothing to respond to good-faith offers by BART workers aimed at avoiding a strike.”
BART officials said they had told the union they would have a proposal ready by 5 p.m., but when they submitted it to the mediator at 3:45 p.m., they were told the negotiators had already walked out.
BART spokesman Rick Rice said management delivered a new economic proposal to the mediator this afternoon, and received a response from the union to a proposal made Thursday. He said the latest BART proposal increased the salary offer and reduced the amount employees would contribute to pensions and health care.
“We’re disappointed,” Rice said of the union’s decision to break off talks.
Contracts with BART’s two biggest unions, SEIU 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 155, are set to expire Sunday at midnight. Union members voted earlier this week to authorize a strike that could begin as early as Monday.
6:41 PM: Union negotiators walked away from the bargaining table this afternoon as the date for a threatened strike approaches, leaving it unclear whether talks will continue this weekend, BART officials said today.
BART officials were told the union officials had left the negotiating table around 3:45 p.m., as they delivered a new economic proposal to a mediator, BART spokesman Rick Rice said.
While the mediator also delivered a response from the union to a proposal made on Thursday by BART, there was no indication whether the intended to return tomorrow, Rice said.
“We’re disappointed,” Rice said of the union’s departure. “We had told them this proposal was coming by 5, we had it ready by 3:45, and we were prepared to continue.”
Rice said the new proposal from BART increases salary and decreases employee pension contributions and health care cost increases.
Call to the leaders of BART’s two biggest unions, Service Employees International Union, Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1555, have not been returned.
Contracts with the two unions are set to expire Sunday at midnight. Union members voted earlier this week to authorize a strike that could begin as early as Monday.
Bargaining talks are scheduled to resume at 11 a.m. Sunday, according to Rice.
“We’ll be here,” Rice said.