BART GM joins contract talks, new offer to be presented

Strike possible on Monday

BART's general manager is sitting down with union leaders Friday morning for a bargaining session that includes a new contract offer from the agency as efforts to stave off a strike continue.

General manager Grace Crunican has joined talks this morning for the first time after the agency's unions late Thursday night announced they would postpone a potential strike, according to BART spokesman Jim Allison.

However, negotiators are working under a tight timeline since the unions also issued a 72-hour strike notice that will expire at the end of the

night on Sunday. The notice is a courtesy but is not mandatory.

BART is prepared to present a new contract offer to the unions this morning, but is not releasing details of the proposal at the request of a federal mediator, Allison said.

Union officials said the presence of Crunican at the bargaining table, as well as what they called increased involvement from BART board members and other elected officials, are positive developments.

"We believe these developments can only help bring a resolution to these drawn-out negotiations and for this reason, we will continue bargaining through the weekend," officials with Service Employees International Union Local 1021 said in a statement.

BART management began negotiating on April 1 with SEIU Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, and

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and clerical workers.

The workers previously went on strike for four and a half days at the beginning of July but returned to the bargaining table for another 30

days at the request of Gov. Jerry Brown.

When the second round of talks failed, Brown asked for a 60-day cooling-off period, but that period ended at midnight Thursday.


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