San Francisco Bart rail strike ends as contract extended

Passengers board a Bart train at West Oakland on Friday 5 July 2013 Passengers were able to travel on Bart services for the first time since Monday

Related Stories

San Francisco Bay's transit rail service has resumed after two labour unions called off a strike.

The four-day walkout came to an end after both sides in the Bay Area Rapid Transit (Bart) dispute agreed to a one-month extension of the current contract while bargaining continues.

But management and the unions remain far apart on key issues.

The strike, the longest since a six-day stoppage in 1997, affected 400,000 passengers who use Bart daily.

Start Quote

We're not going to let them hijack us and the riding public”

End Quote Antonette Bryant Labour union leader

Talks between the two sides had resumed as early as Tuesday, but key sticking points include salaries, as well as employee costs for pensions and healthcare.

The unions, representing nearly 2,400 workers, are seeking a 5% annual raise over the next three years, dismissing a management counter-offer of 8% over four years as "surface bargaining" and noting a wage freeze they took four years ago.

Bart has said workers from the two unions earn on average $71,000 (£47,500) in base salary and $11,000 in overtime annually.

'Optimistic'

Bart general manager Grace Crunican said the discussions would continue during the contract extension period.

"Unfortunately, the issues that brought us to this point remain unresolved,'' she said. "We still have a wide gap of disagreements to bridge over the next 30 days."

The president of one of the striking unions, the Amalgamated Transit Union, struck a defiant tone.

"We're not going to let them hijack us and the riding public," Antonette Bryant said, as she apologised to commuters for the disruption.

Passengers were able to travel on Bart trains from about 15:00 on Friday (22:00 GMT), said station agent Darrow Richardson.

"It's been hard on everybody, everybody on both sides of the fence and on the riding public," he told the Associated Press news agency.

"I'm optimistic that things will get ironed out."

While the effects of the strike were somewhat lessened by the Independence Day holiday on 4 July, commuters in the Bay area faced lengthy queues at toll bridges earlier in the week and increased strain on other transit options.

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute estimated the strike had cost the San Francisco Bay Area $73 million (£43 million) a day in lost worker productivity.

The transit rail serves San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and other areas in the region.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More US & Canada stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Man holding lipWitch hunt

    The country where a writer accused of blasphemy must run


  • Espresso cupNews quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?


  • Lauren Arrington holding up a fishSomething's fishy

    Scientist claims 'child prodigy' getting credit for his discovery


  • A woman's stomach with the words "I love IDF"'War porn'?

    Support - and disdain - for women posting sexy selfies for the IDF


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • CastleRoyal real estate

    No longer reserved for kings and queens, some find living in a castle simply divine

Programmes

  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.