Bart and union leaders reached a tentative agreement last yesterday that averted a threatened strike set to occur at 12:01 a.m. this morning.
The decision, announced just five hours before the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 planned to shut the system down for lack of a contract will keep trains running at least through the this week as ATU Local 155s' president Jesse Hunt takes the new agreement to menbers for a vote. He said that would happen this week.
The two sides met from 11:20 a.m. Sunday until almost 7 p.m. to reach a settlement.
Although Hunt said he couldn't discuss the details of the settlement until taking it to the ATU membership first, it is a four-year agreement in line with what the other two BART unions have accepted.
Going into the meeting this morning, BART board of directors President Thomas Blalock said he thought there was "a reasonably good chance that we will settle. We are cautiously optimistic."
At a press conference after the session ended, he thanked the efforts of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-9th) and others for working with both sides to achieve a successful outcome.
He also said that the ATU agreement along with the others would enable BART to achieve management's goal of $100 million in labor cost savings in the next four years to help deal with the system's projected $310 million budget shortfall in that time span.
Bart board vice president James Fang of San Francisco told reporters he thinks averting the strike is "the greatest thing for the Bay Area."
Newsom said, "I couldn't be more proud" that there is a tentative agreement and thanked both the BART board and labor.
The Bart board will keep in place a more onerous contract it had earlier imposed until ATU members have ratified the new agreement.
BART spokesman Linton Johnson said management declared an impasse in its talks with ATU Local 1555 Wednesday night because the union wasn't reaching management's cost-cutting target.
He said management's goal is to achieve $100 million in labor-cost savings in the next four years to help deal with its projected $310 million budget shortfall in that time span.
Two other BART unions voted earlier in the week to approve management's contract offer but their leaders say they will respect picket lines if ATU Local 1555 goes 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.
ATU Local 1555's members voted by a 2-to-1 margin Monday to reject management's contract offer.