With BART rolling again, concerns linger over deal

BART trains are rolling again — much to the delight of Friday afternoon commuters  — but BART managers and union officials acknowledge they’re still far apart in reaching a labor deal.

As promised, after BART management and labor leaders announced late Thursday they had agreed to extend the labor contract for 30 days, the trains started rolling again at 3 p.m. Friday. 

Some stations were exceptionally crowded for mid-afternoon, but cleared out quickly after the first few trains. Though some of the earlier trains didn’t run as scheduled, the system began to sort itself as trains began arriving and departing on time.

But though the trains were back on track for now, concerns remain if both sides can come to terms by Aug 4., when the 30-day extension ends.

Pete Castelli, the the executive director of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said workers were glad to back on the job, but his harsh words for BART management left no doubt the two sides are far from coming to terms:

“We are happy to be back to work moving the Bay Area, but we do so knowing that BART management has raised hypocrisy to a whole new level. Management has spent taxpayer money on themselves like they were Wall Street bankers! While BART General Manager Grace Crunican pays herself $320,000/year, she refuses to adjust employee compensation to simply keep up with the cost of living here in the Bay Area. “

 Thursday night, after the 30-day deal was announced, Crunican acknowledged the wide gap on the issues between management and labor:

“Unfortunately, the issues that brought us to this point remain unresolved. Despite lots of hard work, BART and its unions have failed to come to an agreement on contract issues that matter to all of us today and into the future. We still have a wide gap of disagreements to bridge over the next 30 days.”

Also of lingering concern to commuters was the status of contract talks between AC Transit management and drivers, though progress in those talks had been reported earlier this week.

With BART workers back on the job — at least for now — it was also good news to  thousands of people attending Friday night’s baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With about 40,000 people expected to attend each of the three games San Francisco Muni has issued a “traffic and transit advisory” for the weekend.

Muni is advising people to avoid using the Bay Bridge and streets near AT&T Park during the games.

The San Francisco Giants also issued their own advisory urging fans attending any of the weekend games to leave for the ballpark early, and warning that parking lots would be full.

Besides the weekend baseballs series, the Fillmore Street Jazz Festival is also expected to draw thousands of people into the city on Saturday and Sunday, with neighborhood streets closed on both days.