OAKLAND (KRON) – On Day 4 of a bitter BART strike that crippled Bay Area roadways, a tentative agreement has been reached after both sides returned to the bargaining table Monday evening.
Union officials announced the deal, which still requires approval from union members.
BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said that trains could begin running at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning on all lines and trains should be at full strength for the afternoon commute.
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with union leadership that will bring the trains back into service, starting tomorrow, while union members consider the agreement and vote on it,” said BART general manager Grace Crunican.
“The public expects us to resolve our differences and to keep the Bay Area moving,” Crunican said.
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A Federal mediator participated in the talks, reports KRON 4’s Dan Kerman.
The BART unions have been on strike since Friday, after contract negotiations broke down late Thursday night. The work stoppage stranded a weekday ridership of 400,000.
The contentious talks between BART and its two largest unions dragged on for six months— a period that saw two chaotic dayslong strikes, contentious negotiations and frazzled commuters wondering if they would wake up to find the trains running or not.
Negotiations resumed and a settlement was reached just two days after two track workers were killed in a BART train accident in Walnut Creek. Federal investigators said Monday that the train was run by a BART employee who was being trained to operate trains. Union officials had warned that training managers to operate trains during the walkout could be dangerous.
Antonette Bryant, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, expressed her condolences Monday night to the workers who were killed.
The key issues were salaries and worker contributions to their health and pension plans.
“We did not want to strike,” she said, “and we are glad to have a tentative agreement that we feel will work for all parties.”
Talks began in April, three months before the June 30 contract expirations, but both sides were far apart. The unions initially asked for 23.2 percent in raises over three years. BART countered, offering a four-year contract with 1 percent raises contingent on the agency meeting economic goals.
BART workers also walked off the job in early July, shutting down train service for nearly five days.
KRON 4 will continue to update this developing story.
(Copyright 2013, Associated Press, Bay City News and KRON 4, All rights reserved.)