BART trains will continue to operate Friday, but California's Bay Area labor unions threatening to strike warned the transit agency that the delay is temporary and they will walk-off the job Monday morning if they can't come to an agreement on new contract terms.
BART, or Bay Area Rapid Transit, workers went on strike in July for four and a half days, stranding hundreds of thousands of commuters. It almost happened again in August, but Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a 60-day cooling-off period, which was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.
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The two largest unions representing BART workers — Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 — then issued a 72-hour notice that if an agreement wasn't reached by midnight Sunday, they would not go to work Monday morning, according to SFGate.com.
Talks are scheduled to resume Friday at 10 a.m.
The last strike was a mess, with the city's 400,000 commuters scrambling to find alternate means of transportation in a city that revolves around its mass transit. This time around, if workers do strike, the BART Board of Directors has authorized the agency to spend up to $400,000 a day to provide transbay charter bus service.
Contract terms are at the root of the union workers' gripes, including wages, pensions, worker safety, and healthcare costs.
"Both sides want to get it resolved," Tom Hock, BART's chief negotiator, told SFGate.com Thursday. "They don't want to go on strike. But whether there is enough money to get it done is another question. Right now, there's not."
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