Trains running after deal reached to end strike
OAKLAND, California (AP) — Trains in the San Francisco Bay Area are running again Tuesday after a tentative deal capped six months of contentious labor negotiations and two strikes that upended hundreds of thousands of daily commutes.
Limited Bay Area Rapid Transit train service began running again around 6 a.m. Tuesday, two hours later than BART had said it would and not in time to prevent many commuters from turning to alternative modes of transportation. Traffic at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toll plaza was snarled in the morning.
BART officials said workers were trickling in as they heard about the settlement that ended a four-day strike. They hoped trains would be running a full service in time for the afternoon commute.
The tentative contract deal was announced by BART and union officials. It still requires approval from union members and then from BART’s board of directors.
“The public expects us to resolve our differences and to keep the Bay Area moving,” BART general manager Grace Crunican said Monday night.
Crunican said there would be no immediate announcements on the details while union leaders explained the agreement to their members, but she said it was a compromise and added: “This deal is more than we wanted to pay.”
BART is the nation’s fifth-largest rail system, with an average weekday ridership of 400,000.
Workers walked off the job on Friday after talks broke down. Commuters endured jammed roadways and long lines for buses and ferries, as they looked for alternate ways around the region.
The talks between BART and its two largest unions dragged on for six months— a period that saw two chaotic dayslong strikes, contentious negotiations and frazzled commuters wondering if they would wake up to find the trains running or not.
Negotiations resumed and a settlement was reached just two days after two track workers were killed in a BART train accident in Walnut Creek and a day after unions offered concessions on work rules — a key point of contention in the talks. Federal investigators said Monday that the train was run by a BART employee who was being trained. Union officials had warned that training managers to operate trains during the walkout could be dangerous.
“This is a reminder, this weekend, that this is about people,” said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who joined BART and union officials to announce the settlement.
Thanawala reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writers Haven Daley and Terence Chea in Walnut Creek, California, contributed to this report.