Some progress reported in BART, union negotiations

BART and its unions will be back at the bargaining table Saturday morning to try to hammer out a deal before Sunday's midnight deadline.
October 12, 2013 10:45:19 PM PDT
Negotiations between BART and its two biggest unions have ended for the night, but there are reports of progress being made. This comes as a threat of a worker strike and traffic nightmare on Monday inches closer.

BART and its two largest employee unions spent hours Saturday night trying to work out a deal.

For most of the day, both sides in this negotiation were not even in the same building. That's because they were each going through proposals and supplemental issues.

It is work that both sides say is very important, even if neither side was actually exchanging information.

Late Saturday night, both sides have offered a few details on progress.

"I think some of the supplemental items on the SEIU side have been tentatively been agreed to," said Thomas Hock, BART's chief negotiator. "But so far, that's all that's been agreed to yet."

"There will be another meeting tonight to go over costings for various proposals and to see if we can get agreement on the proposals and see how far apart we are," said ATU negotiator Chris Finn.

At about 6:30 p.m., the mediator called both sides together and that's when we saw BART's chief negotiator and the general manager walk into the building for the first time Saturday.

So far, neither side has offered many details about agreements. What we heard from BART's lead negotiator is the most we've heard all night.

But both sides are under a gag order set by the mediator, so they can't say much.

On Friday night we were told by the unions that they were expecting a new proposal from BART management, but then everyone went home and wouldn't give us any further information.

It seems that on Saturday, the unions had time to go over some of that information.

What we have been told is that on Saturday night, all sides sat down at the big negotiating table and that they have had some pleasant conversations. So there is progress. However, it does not seem that anyone expects any of these issues will be wrapped up by Saturday night.

Talks finished at about 10:30 p.m. Both sides are set to resume negotiations Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Transit agencies prepare for potential strike

If there is a strike, BART managers have been training to run some trains. And the district will charter 200 buses.

Service will run from nine East Bay BART stations and downtown San Francisco.

You can catch a bus between 5 and 8 a.m. at the following stations -- El Cerrito del Norte, Concord, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, West Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Dublin-Pleasanton, and Fremont. Evening service at those stations will be from 3 to 7 p.m. You have to get a roundtrip ticket in the morning if you want to catch the evening bus.

As for AC Transit, it will have additional and longer buses on its local and transbay lines. And bus stops located inside BART stations will be moved outside BART property lines.

The San Francisco Bay Ferry service is planning to add four ferries.

On a regular day they transport about 6,000 passengers. They saw that number jump to 19,000 during the last BART strike in July.

Stay with ABC7NEWS.COM for updates on the looming BART strike and information on how to get around if the trains stop running. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and download our news app for the latest news whenever and wherever you want.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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