SAN FRANCISCO, July 2 San Francisco's Bay Area
Rapid Transit System reached a tentative deal on Tuesday with
one union but most workers remained on strike in a dispute that
has halted commuter trains for two days, a spokesman for the
The two sides resumed bargaining on Tuesday evening after
the strike by about 2,400 employees triggered a second day of
painful commutes for thousands in the Bay Area who were forced
onto crowded roads, buses and ferries with no train service.
Rick Rice, a BART spokesman, said he had no details about
the agreement between BART and AFSCME Local 3993, which
represents mostly middle managers. That union was not on strike
but its members did not come to work to show support for
coworkers who were on strike.
AFSCME confirmed in a written statement that a tentative
deal had been reached and said it would "strongly advise" its
some 200 members to return to work at the transportation system
that serves 400,000 riders daily, he said.
The strike is the first by BART employees since 1997. The
two sides have been far apart for months and talks with
management faltered late on Sunday just hours before labor
BART has put forward a "fair and responsible" offer that
included an 8 percent pay increase over four years that union
negotiators rejected, according to its spokesman. Union
representatives say management has not negotiated in good faith.
With BART trains out of action, local officials have added
extra buses and ferries to shuttle commuters from cities on the
east side of San Francisco Bay such as Oakland to San Francisco.
The additional transport accommodates only a fraction of
commuters who use BART trains. Routes to and from San Francisco
and East Bay communities are among BART's busiest.
If they could, commuters worked from home. Many used car
pools. But heavy traffic pointed to many others driving on their
own and choking some highways, especially the Bay Bridge linking
the East Bay and San Francisco.
Carol Bach of Oakland said she was surprised to board a San
Francisco-bound bus on time after catching a bus on Monday on
the same route that was well behind schedule due to traffic on
But the ride into San Francisco on Tuesday turned out to be
longer and the bus took on so many passengers several had to
stand, said Bach, an environmental affairs manager at the Port
of San Francisco.
"Traffic was much worse," she said. "It seemed like today
more people were back to work."
Additional time commuters spend sitting in traffic will cost
the San Francisco region's economy $73 million in lost worker
productivity each day the strike persists, according to the Bay
Area Economic Institute.