Nation & World News

Trains Running Again In San Francisco As BART Strike Ends

By Mark Memmott on October 22nd, 2013

Commuters in the San Francisco area should see things start returning to normal Tuesday thanks to an overnight agreement that has ended a strike by workers at the area’s rapid transit system known as BART.

The walkout began Friday. Around 10:30 p.m. local time Monday (1:30 a.m. ET Tuesday), BART management and representatives of the workers’ unions announced they had reached a deal.

Details of the agreement weren’t released, but according to KQED:

“BART General Manager Grace Crunican signaled that the agency had retreated somewhat from its final offer last week, which included a demand for changes in the agency’s work rules as well as a 12 percent pay increase and new pension and medical benefits payments.

” ‘I will simply say that this offer is more than we wanted to pay,’ Crunican said. ‘But it is also a new path in terms of our partnership with workers and helps us deliver the BART service of the future. We compromised to get to this place, as did our union members.’ ”

Service is going to be gradually restored.

“Some trains were expected to be running on all lines at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning,” says The San Francisco Chronicle, “but full service wasn’t to be restored until later in the day, probably in time for the afternoon commute.”

Workers will be returning to their jobs even though the deal has yet to be ratified by union members. It’s expected the agreement will win their OK.

As the Chronicle adds:

“Negotiations picked up Sunday evening after the unions released a proposal that offered to end the dispute by modifying contract language that BART contends has prevented technological advances and enshrined inefficiencies. The union offer proposed to allow for work-rule changes regarding technology but to retain rules on safety.

“Disagreement over work rules, which make up much of BART’s 470-page contract with its two largest unions, provoked the strike, which began Friday.”

On Saturday, two workers performing a track inspection died after being hit by a BART train. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. KQED reports that union representatives said the accident underscored why they were pushing to protect work and safety rules. A trainee was at the train’s controls at the time of the incident.

About 400,000 people ride BART’s trains on a typical weekday.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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