STRIKEWATCH: BART STRIKE ENDS; SERVICE TO RESUME TUESDAY

STRIKEWATCH: BART STRIKE ENDS; SERVICE TO RESUME TUESDAY

Michele Ellson

Updated at 11:09 p.m. Monday, October 21

Leaders at BART's two biggest unions and its top manager announced tentative contract accords Monday night as the fourth day of workers' most recent strike drew to a close. BART announced that some trains will be running by 4 a.m., and that full service could be available by Tuesday afternoon.

"This offer is more than we wanted to pay," General Manager Grace Crunican said, adding that both sides made painful compromises to make the deals happen. Neither side released specifics of the tentative deals, which still need to be okayed by workers.

Both Crunican and union leaders apologized for the strike that left tens of thousands of commuters scrambling for buses, ferries and other means of getting to work, while union leaders thanked a laundry list of politicians that included local electeds, state legislators and Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

"If there's any lesson learned, it's that this can never happen again," Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom said.

In a statement, union leaders said the agreement offers "reasonable wage increases, a compromise on pension and healthcare costs, in addition to work rule changes that allow for innovation and input from workers." It says the agreement "prioritizes rider and worker safety" and that union leaders expect to continue talking with Crunican about working conditions and health and safety at BART.

In another statement, Crunican said the agreement is "a good package for our union members while still allowing the District to make the necessary investments in our infrastructure."

Nearly 2,200 workers went on strike Friday after a series of marathon bargaining sessions with a federal mediation team failed to produce contract deals. Union leaders said they had reached consensus on pay and benefits when BART managers asked for major changes to work rules; a BART spokesperson said a pay and benefits deal had not yet been reached, and that mediators, and not BART management, had suggested coupling work rule changes with the pay plan.

Crunican had said BART's leaders needed changes that would allow them to introduce technology and make the rail line more efficient, while union leaders said rules to protect workers needed to remain in place.

The announcement capped five bitter months of negotiations. Governor Jerry Brown stepped in to request a 60-day cooling off period after BART workers first went on strike, in July, but that ended without a deal being reached. Frustrated commuters endured a series of late night waits for news of a possible service-stopping strike last week, and they packed themselves on buses and ferries through the course of this latest strike.

Union leaders offered fresh contract proposals on Sunday, a day after a BART worker and a contractor were hit and killed by a train operated during what BART leaders are now calling a training and maintenance run. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the deaths.

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