BART reaches tentative deal with unions, ending the strike

BART union members and supporters rally on Friday, the first of four days on strike.
Tim Daw

The BART strike ended this morning — the second four-day strike of the current labor contract impasse, both of which hobbled the  Bay Area’s transportation system — after the district reached a tentative contract with its three unions late last night.

The agreement was spurred by the tragic deaths of two BART employees on Saturday and by yesterday’s National Transportation Safety Board revelation that the train that struck the workers was being used by the district to train drivers, presumably in preparation for offered limited public service during the strike.

“We are pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with union leadership that will bring the trains back into service, starting tomorrow, while union members consider the agreement and vote on it,” BART General Manager Grace Crunican said in a public statement issued at 10pm last night, withholding details of the deal. “This is a good package for our union members while still allowing the District to make the necessary investments in our infrastructure. That investment is critical to the future of the Bay Area.”

Union sources tell the Guardian that Saturday’s tragedy definitely created the conditions to reach an agreement, with the district softening its hardline insistence on its “last, best, and final offer” and the unions agreeing to some work rule changes, which they say the district and media had mischaracterized their position on. Technological modernizing will go through, but the unions retained authority over safety and other working conditions. 

For more on the breakdowns that led to the strike, the circumstances surrounding Saturday’s accident, and the aftermath of that tragedy, read tomorrow’s Guardian print edition, which goes on line this evening.