BART Strike: Last-Second Proposals Could Avert Friday Morning Shutdown


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The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has until midnight Thursday to arrive at an agreement with its labor unions. Negotiators offered a last second contract proposal Thursday afternoon in an effort to avoid a Friday morning shutdown that will affect some 400,000 riders in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As of 6pm, BART and union officials were still negotiating. No deal had been reached, and to the frustration of Bay Area residents, union officials hadn't made an announcement about whether or not they would strike.

Today marks the end of a 60-day cooling off period ordered by California governor Jerry Brown back in August. Not surprisingly, one of the big points of contention in the negotiations is wage increases. The opposing sides were getting closer to an agreement when an all-day negotiation session fell through Wednesday night due to what BART called a "miscommunication."

Union officials claim that management caused Wednesday's break-down in negotiations by taking back a recent offer. Josie Mooney, chief negotiator for one of the two major labor unions involved said "We were stunned."
As negotiations continue, Bay Area commuters hold their breath and hope that they won't see a repeat of the July strike that slowed automobile traffic on freeways and bridges to a crawl and overtaxed the city's busses and ferries.

Image via Wikimedia Commons