Streams

BART Strike Enters Second Day, Grows More Hellish

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 - 02:49 PM

KALW

Tuesday’s commute seems to be shaping up to be worse than yesterday's. Freeways backed up sooner, ferry lines were longer, and the free shuttles that BART provided from five East Bay stations filled up quicker.

Meanwhile, BART and its unions have yet to sit down to talks since Sunday, although both sides did speak with a state mediator last night. UPDATE: negotiations are due to resume at 6pm on Tuesday.

In a press release Monday, BART officials said said they were sorry that the actions of SEIU and ATU had caused such a “tremendous disruption to the people of the Bay Area” and that they are “working hard to bring a fair and responsible resolution to labor talks.”

For their part, ATU officials said the unions are ready to negotiate -- and "all we want is a fair wage and a safe workplace."

BART spokesperson Rick Rice said the transit agency also wants to negotiate --  to discuss the contract they proposed on Saturday. But ATU president Antonette Bryant called that wage increase “an insult.”

The last time BART workers went on strike was in 1997. That strike ended after six days, when then-San Francisco mayor Willie Brown pushed the sides to find a deal.

Meanwhile, commuters are tweeting restlessly. "Is it wrong that after day 2 I'm starting to miss the vile stains on the carpeting?" mused @awalden69. Less wistful was @AshleyGardini, who wrote: "No new talks scheduled? Ugh...both sides should be locked in a room together until they make a deal."

For my part, I spoke too soon on Monday when I said I avoided strike-related delays. While my trip to work took about an hour, it took me over three hours to get home, from Potrero Hill in San Francisco to Richmond.

“Packed” was the word of the day. I took a packed Muni bus to a packed ferry bound for Oakland to a packed AC Transit bus.

The ferry ride -- though breathtaking -- added a solid hour to to my trip. In the future, I’ll probably take an AC Transit bus -- unless those bus workers go on strike.

Their contract has also expired.

Follow Isabel Angell on Twitter.

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