San Francisco goes back to work with rail strike still on
SAN FRANCISCO Oct 21 (Reuters) - A strike by commuter rail system workers in the San Francisco area entered a fourth day on Monday, as the traffic-clogged region started the work week with no labor talks scheduled.
Bay Area Rapid Transit employees walked off the job on Friday after contract talks broke down over pay increases and workplace rules. The strike shut down a commuter rail system that carries some 400,000 passengers a day.
The BART Board of Directors is set to meet in Oakland on Monday afternoon to discuss the talks with the transit system's general manager and its labor negotiations team.
An SEIU spokeswoman said late on Sunday the union delivered to management a "new counterpropsal" that offered flexibility on rules governing workplace technology, but declined to offer details. Neither of the major unions representing workers nor management could be reached for comment.
Antonette Bryant, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, said her union would put the latest contract offer to a vote, likely later in the week, but predicted it would be rejected, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The Service Employees International Union Local 1021 declined to say whether its members would vote on the offer, the newspaper reported.
Vigils were held on Sunday in honor of two workers who were struck and killed by a train as they checked a section of the track over the weekend. The National Transportation Safety Board began an investigation of the incident on Sunday. [IDn:L1N0IB013]
The BART walkout is the second this year, after unionized workers went on strike for 4-1/2 days in July. The unions and BART management were unable to reach a deal in the following months. (Writing by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Eric Walsh)