Train Kills 2 Track Workers Amid SF Bay Strike

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Before the accident, union leaders spent the day attempting to convince the riders who make 400,000 daily trips on the system that workers’ demands are not unreasonable amid increasing hostility in social media and other outlets.

The ATU agreed with BART management on the economic parts of the contract, including a 12 percent pay raise that when increased pension and health insurance costs becomes nearly a 1 percent salary loss for workers, Bryant said. The two sides came to an impasse over work rules, including the length of the work day and when overtime pay kicks in, the union said.

BART spokesman Rick Rice said that the two sides remain in communication though they were not expected back at the bargaining table.

Messages left for negotiators from the Service Employees International Union, which also represents workers, were not immediately returned.

However, SEIU president Roxanne Sanchez said they were willing to sign off on pay, health care and pension issues, and send the remaining snarl — work rules — to an arbitrator, a proposal BART has previously refused. But BART officials later said they would be willing to send the entire contract to arbitration but not the work rules alone.

Thus, with no deal in place, residents were spending a weekend without BART service, complicating vacation plans and making it tough for fans heading to events including a music show on Treasure Island and art exhibits throughout San Francisco’s Open Studios.

Six months of on-again, off-again negotiations have brought agreement on key issues such as raises, health care and pensions. But there remained a snarl late Thursday that sent workers back to picket lines for the second time since July: a package of work rules involving when schedules are posted, whether workers can file for overtime when they’ve been out sick, and how paychecks are delivered.

Weekend BART use is light compared with the workweek, and frustrated commuters Friday said they hoped an agreement could be quickly reached.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit system carries its ridership through tunnels under the bay and into the region’s urban core of San Francisco from four surrounding counties, relieving what would otherwise be congested bridges.

In an effort to alleviate delays, many of the Bay Area’s other 27 transit systems added bus, ferry and rail service Friday. Carpools and rideshare programs were also busy, and more cyclists took to the streets. Ferry operators said their ridership doubled.

But traffic was sluggish during both commutes, and lines at bridge toll plazas were backed up for miles.

Many simply avoided the hassle, telecommuting instead.

(Photo: AP)

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