- The Washington Times - Monday, October 14, 2013

Union members reached an eleventh hour deal with transit authorities in San Francisco and agreed to postpone a scheduled job walk-off on Monday that would have caused a transportation nightmare for commuters.

The deal is only temporary. If contract negotiations can’t be forged by midnight Monday, transit union workers will go forward with their strike, officials familiar with the talks said, in The Associated Press. And their threats aren’t idle: In July, union workers went on a five-day strike over contract issues.

Still, the reprieve meant morning rush-hour commuters wouldn’t face a Monday headache. Almost 370,000 riders commute to work on the BART system, AP reported.

“We are not going to go on strike because the public deserves to have a riding system that works. We will give the [transit agency] one more day to get it together,” said Antonette Bryant, leader of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, one of the two unions in talks with BART.

Service Employees International Local 1021 said the union wants better pay, pension and health care benefits — and that an agreement’s been reached on those issues. But union and transit officials still couldn’t reach common ground on matters related to work rules.

“We are open to any ideas … they may have,” said BART General Manager Grace Crunican, in the AP reported. “It is time to bring this to a close. The Bay Area is tired of going to bed at night and not knowing if BART will be open or not.”