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BART strike temporarily averted

on October 11, 2013

A BART strike was narrowly averted late Thursday night after union leaders and BART management agreed to extend talks through midnight Sunday. The eleventh-hour reprieve was preceded by a long night of negotiations between union leaders and BART management.

Although an agreement was not reached, ATU Local 1555 representative Chris Finn said he was hopeful.

“We are trying to do everything we can,” said Finn. He later added that several BART board members and some Bay Area representatives have become more involved in the negotiation process.

“We believe that these developments can only help bring a resolution to these drawn-out negotiations and, for that reason, we will continue bargaining through the weekend,” said union representative Roxanne Sanchez.

The decision to extend negotiations comes at the end of a 60-day cooling-off period which was slated to expire at midnight on Thursday. Negotiations are scheduled to continue Saturday morning and go though the weekend. So far, BART has not given unions a new proposal. According to spokesperson Roxanne Sanchez, workers still plan to strike if a deal isn’t reached by 12:01am Monday.

The news that BART would be running on Friday came as a relief to commuters, though many said they remained frustrated by the ongoing stalemate, as well as by the lateness of tonight’s announcement.

A four-day strike in July cost the Bay Area $73 million dollars a day, according to the Bay Area Council, a business advocacy group. Rufus Jeffris, a spokesperson for the group, said that another strike would likely cost the same amount, and would also send the wrong message to business and tourists who are considering coming to the Bay Area. “Businesses like to have stability,” Jeffris said.

With reports from Becca Andrews, Jennifer Chaussee, Kathleen Seccombe, James Reddick and Susan Cohen.

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