Oakland, CA – In response to California and Bay Area elected leaders’ request to BART to continue bargaining to avert a strike, Pete Castelli, Executive Director of SEIU 1021 issued the following statement:
“I am sorry to tell you that, after marathon negotiations this weekend, BART workers and management have been unable to reach an agreement.
We are tired and frustrated but, most of all, we are sorry. Sorry because we were so close to an agreement.
Labor and management are both abiding by a media gag order prescribed by the mediator, so I won’t reveal specifics. But I can tell you that our union, SEIU 1021, which represents more than 1,400 maintenance, service and professional employees, has made real progress on the issues of pay, pensions and health care benefits.
While there remains more that needs to be done on economics, the area where we are still at odds is work rules, which include important safety provisions. While management has referred to safety and workplace protections as a “smokescreen” for workers’ wage demands, we want to make clear to the public that they are very real. They affect the safety of workers and riders and the cleanliness and on-time performance of the system.
In order to avoid a strike, we agree to continue bargaining for one more day in order for the riders, our workers, and the Bay Area get the resolution to these drawn-out negotiations they deserve.
We give this notice at this hour so that the public can know that the trains will run tomorrow and that there is no need for them to make alternative commute plans. However, we want to be clear that if we do not have a resolution by midnight tomorrow, we will be forced out on strike.”