Union Announces BART Strike Beginning Sunday at Midnight

Bay City News
Thursday August 13, 2009 - 11:08:00 AM

A spokesman for BART’s second-largest union announced today that its members would begin a strike Sunday at midnight.  

BART’s board of directors voted unanimously today to unilaterally implement terms and conditions of employment for members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555. 

BART management held a special meeting today and in a 9-0 vote approved imposing the terms after the union rejected BART’s final contract offer in negotiations Wednesday night. 

Jesse Hunt, president of ATU Local 1555, which represents about 900 train operators, station agents and power workers, said earlier today that if the board took such a step, union members would strike.  

He confirmed that the union would do so, beginning Sunday at midnight. 

General manager Dorothy Dugger said after today’s board vote, “This is not the outcome I would have hoped to be announcing today.” 

However, she said, “We must take action to achieve savings and put the district on more stable ground.” 

BART chief spokesman Linton Johnson said the vote “was regrettable but had to be done to stop the bleeding,” pointing out the agency is losing money daily due to the cost of negotiations and the cost of continuing under the terms of the previous contract. 

BART board member Joel Keller said he reluctantly supported imposing the work and pay rules because “all of the economic indicators are going down,” including BART’s ridership and sales tax revenues. 

Johnson said ATU still has time to negotiate rather than calling a strike.  

Two other BART unions voted earlier this week to approve management’s contract offer but their leaders have said they would respect picket lines if ATU Local 1555 were to go on strike. 

The other unions are Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents about 1,500 mechanics, custodians, safety inspectors and clerical employees, and American Federation of Local, State and Municipal Employees Union Local 3993, which represents about 200 middle managers.