Michele Ellson

BART trains will continue to run on normal schedules Tuesday as talks over new contracts continue, the head of the federal mediation service attempting to broker a contract deal announced early Tuesday morning.

George Cohen of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service announced at 1 a.m. Tuesday - three hours before a strike would have taken effect - that progress had been made in bargaining talks between BART's unions and management and that the discussions would continue for the rest of the night.

"At the request of the federal mediation service, and because of all of our concerns about the public interest, I’m authorized to announce that trains will run tomorrow," Cohen announced before heading back into the Caltrans building to continue overseeing the contract talks.

The ongoing uncertainty over whether trains will continue to run or not is translating into rising frustration among commuters - some of whom joked on Twitter about being woken to the news by an early-morning earthquake.

"Same place same time tomorrow guys?" a tweeter named Daniel asked.

BART management gave the unions their last, best final offer at 4 p.m. Monday - a 12 percent raise over four years and more money toward pensions and health care - and the unions reportedly countered late Tuesday night. A midnight strike deadline came and went.

Governor Jerry Brown successfully sought a 60-day cooling off period following a four-day BART worker strike in July, but the two-month period lapsed last week without contract deals being reached. The unions have threatened strikes, but have not yet carried out those threats.

Commuters are bracing for the possibility of a second strike on Thursday following a notice from unions representing AC Transit's workers that they, too could strike if they don't get new contracts. The bus system's largest unions had reached tentative deals, but workers rejected them.

City leaders and one of the city's main transit providers, the San Francisco Bay Ferry, have also been bracing for a possible strike. The city is again planning shuttles to the ferry and also, to relax parking restrictions and provide valet bike parking if a strike occurs, while the ferry is prepared to provide extra service.

The Alamedan will continue to provide updates on the commute situation as it emerges; additional commute information will be available on


Submitted by alamedadave (not verified) on Tue, Oct 15, 2013

Bart workers are not over paid. Their pay is not so good. I am not a BART worker, I do not know any BART workers, but I know what it costs to live here. BART must pay workers more!

This is a needed opportunity for our Bay Area LABOR Movement. BART workers, and Transit workers must stand together and set the example of how workers should be paid. BART management and Republican Congress should walk to hell together.

It is high time workers demand a better quality of life as our countrymen had before the corporatocracy gained so much power.