BART talks resume, ‘no indication’ of settlement

As thousands of commuters prepared for a third day of trying to get to work with no BART service, transit officials and labor representatives were at the bargaining table again Tuesday night with no signs of when the strike would end.

In a brief statement late Tuesday, BART officials said the agency “has received no indication” ATU and SEIU will return to work Wednesday and that commuters should make alternative plans to get to work.

Officials at AFSCME 3993 — the union that represents about 200 supervisors and professional staff — announced Tuesday night that they had struck a deal with BART and that the union would “strongly advise” its members to return to work immediately.

Still, the deal with the smaller union will not get BART’s trains rolling again.

The resumption of talks comes as commuters express frustration and outrage about their struggles to get to work — especially from the East Bay into San Francisco — and politicians put pressure on both sides to try to reach a deal.

State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) was among local political leaders issuing statements urging an end to the labor dispute:

“I stand with BART employees in their efforts for a fair contract. BART Management needs to understand the importance of worker safety and get back to the table and negotiate in good faith. A quick, fair resolution to this conflict is in everybody’s best interest.”

Meanwhile, during the second day of a chaotic commute, BART doubled the number of buses it was using to carry passengers from the East Bay to San Francisco from 18 to 36.

Still, the estimated 3,000 passengers the additional buses put into use could handle from four stations was a drop in the bucket to the nearly 400,000 passengers a day that rely on BART.

As BART managers and labor leaders resumed negotiations, weary commuters and political leaders on both sides of the bay kept an eye on the talks between AC Transit managers and bus drivers.

Union bus drivers and mechanics voted to authorize after their contract expired Sunday, but transit officials and labor leaders were still talking.

AC Transit officials said late Tuesday that negotiations had ended for the night but that they and union officials would be back at the bargaining table Wednesday.

The agency said in a statement after both sides had called it a night:

“Reportedly, there has been some slight progress in the negotiations over the past few days as both sides have altered their stances, if but modestly.”

AC Transit carries about 174,000 passengers every day and the extra buses it has put into service since the start of the BART strike have been mostly full.