Oakland City Workers and BART Union Threaten Strike

OAKLAND – In a spirited rally on the steps of City Hall in Oakland, leaders of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) called for city workers and BART workers to strike on Monday.

Pete Castelli, SEIU Regional Director said, “You’re going to see that on July 1st, the working class in Northern California is mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.”

He said BART workers are not close to an agreement and that there is “great distance” between the union and BART management.

The SEIU is one of five unions representing BART workers.

Josie Mooney, a negotiator for SEIU Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers at BART, said contract talks with management were scheduled to resume at 11 a.m. today and would continue throughout the weekend in hopes of reaching an agreement before the workers’ contract expires at midnight Sunday.

BART management spokesman Rick Rice said in a statement that “there was some progress” in contract talks on Thursday and that management is “committed to continuing good faith negotiations and staying at the table until a deal is reached.”

The other large union involved in contract talks with BART is Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers.

BART’s management has asked Gov. Jerry Brown not to order a 60-day cooling off period that would delay a strike if an agreement is not reached by Sunday.

But ATU Local 155 President Antonette Bryant said in a statement that her union has asked Brown to declare a cooling off period “so we can sit down and seriously negotiate a contract.”

The last time BART employees staged a strike was in September 1997. The walkout lasted six days before a settlement was finally reached.

(Copyright 2013, KRON 4/Bay City News, All rights reserved.)

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