BART negotiations remain at a standstill after Thursday’s BART board meeting, and with a little less than two weeks remaining before the October 11 deadline.
In the event of a strike, the BART board has proposed a $21 million plan to route commuters using 200 charter buses, opening extra carpool lanes and by recruiting managers who used to be train operators to run some trains. About a dozen managers have practiced operating trains on two stationary trains in a warehouse in Mare Island in Vallejo.
Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 155, SEIU Local 1021 and AFSCME, voiced their frustration during the meeting’s public comment portion. Some claimed BART’s contingency plan would put riders’ safety in jeopardy.
Union representatives claim that operator certification takes 15 weeks and hundreds of hours of training. Cecille Isidro, a spokesperson for SEIU Local 1021, said BART could use the $21 million to help close the $39 million gap between the BART and union wage and benefits proposals. (BART representatives say that the gap is actually closer to $112 million.)
“They would rather take half of that and drive workers to a strike,” said Isidro.
Talks are scheduled to continue this week.