By Laila Kearney
SAN FRANCISCO Oct 20 San Francisco faced
another day without its commuter rail system on Sunday with no
talks scheduled to resolve the strike, and vigils were held for
two workers killed in a track accident.
The strike against the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency, which
carries about 400,000 riders a day, began on Friday after
contract talks broke down over pay and workplace rules.
With no talks scheduled, the walkout by more than 2,000
workers is expected to snarl traffic as the city returns to work
Antonette Bryant, the president of the Amalgamated Transit
Union Local 1555, said her union would put the latest contract
offer to a vote, but predicted it would be rejected, the San
Francisco Chronicle reported.
The vote would not be scheduled until later in the week, the
The Service Employees International Union Local 1021
declined to say whether its members would vote on the offer, the
SEIU late on Sunday said it delivered to management a "new
counterproposal" that offered flexibility on rules governing
workplace technology, but declined to offer details. Neither of
the major unions nor management could be reached for comment.
The BART Board of Directors is set to meet in Oakland on
Monday afternoon to discuss the labor talks with the transit
system's general manager and its labor negotiations team.
The two workers killed on Saturday were a BART employee and
a contractor, BART officials said. One of the workers belonged
to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
Employees, which is not on strike.
They were checking a possible dip in the track just north of
the station in suburban Walnut Creek when a BART train
functioning on automatic control, with an operator inside,
struck and killed them, the agency said in a statement.
The National Transportation Safety Board began an
investigation of the incident on Sunday, NTSB chief investigator
Jim Southworth told a news conference. He said it would take
four to 10 days to complete the investigation.
Southworth did not release the identities of those involved
in the accident. He would not confirm whether a BART manager was
operating the train or if the NTSB would investigate the
accident in connection with the strike.
Roughly 60 people in dark clothing, some wearing work
uniforms, gathered at the Lake Merritt BART station in downtown
Oakland for a candlelight vigil honoring the dead workers.
"It's a huge loss for the BART family," said Patricia
Schuchardt, president of the American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees Local 3993 (AFSCME), representing
one of the dead workers.
AFSCME, with 220 middle-management BART employees, has not
called a strike, but most of its members have walked off the job
in support of SEIU and ATU strikers, Schuchardt said.
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