BART Talks To Resume This Afternoon Following Overnight Bargaining Session

After pulling an all-nighter Tuesday night, negotiators for BART and its labor unions headed home for a few hours’ sleep and will return to the bargaining table once again early this afternoon.

Contract talks began in April but so far BART management has been unable to reach an agreement with its two largest unions.

The stalemate resulted in a four-and-a-half-day strike at the beginning of July and has come close to causing a strike on several other occasions, including today.

Leaders of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and clerical workers, had said they would go on strike today if an agreement hadn’t been reached by the end of the day on Monday.

But negotiations continued past the midnight deadline, and shortly after 1 a.m. today federal mediator George Cohen said trains would indeed be running this morning and that BART and union representatives would continue their talks.

SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Cecille Isidro said negotiations continued until 5:30 a.m. today and will resume at 1 p.m.

Isidro said she can’t discuss the details of the negotiations because Cohen has asked both sides not to talk about them to the media.

A spokesman for BART was not immediately available for comment this morning.

On Sunday, BART management made what it described as its last, best and final offer to employees, saying that the offer includes a 12 percent increase over four years but also requires workers to make a 4 percent contribution to their pension costs and a 9.5 percent contribution to their health benefits.

Union officials said Monday night that they made a counteroffer to management but could not share details.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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