- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Commuter trains in the San Francisco region that carry about 400,000 travelers each day are back and running on Tuesday, as labor unions reached a tentative deal with Bay Area Rapid Transit executives in the late night hours.

“This offer is more than we wanted to pay, but it is also a new path in terms of our partnership with our workers,” said Grace Crunican, general manager of the transit system, BART, in The New York Times. “We compromised to get to this place, as did our union members.”

The details of the agreement aren’t being released yet, to allow the union heads time to present it to the workers. It’s really not considered final until both union members and BART’s Board of Directors approve.

But for thousands of commuters who were stranded and delayed in their travels on Monday morning, the reopening of the train lines is a welcome relief.

Union workers had staged a four-day walkout, the second in the last three months, resulting in massive traffic jams on regions of the Bay Area that run from San Francisco and the East Bay. Unrest among union ranks had been brewing since July, primarily over pay, work rules and safety matters, but they came to a head last Thursday. Friday, workers picked up their pickets and walked the line, leaving commuters in the lurch.

Meanwhile, talks were complicated further over the weekend after a BART train hit and killed two workers on a track by the East Bay on Saturday. Talks resumed on Sunday, amid the grieving.

It was about 10 p.m. on Monday — about four hours after transit official had predicted — that a settlement was finally reached.

“I am here to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with BART, but I don’t want it to be forgotten that two lives have been lost,” said Antonette Bryant, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, in The Times.

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