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Last updated: October 12. 2013 2:39AM - 552 Views
Associated Press



Jim Allison, center, BART, Deputy Chief Communications Officer talks with members of the media outside Caltrans offices during negotiations with BART management and union members on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. Hoping to avoid a second strike in less than three months, a San Francisco Bay Area transit agency and two of its unions negotiated late into the night to work out a new contract as a 60-day cooling off period was coming to an end.  (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, Aric Crabb)
Jim Allison, center, BART, Deputy Chief Communications Officer talks with members of the media outside Caltrans offices during negotiations with BART management and union members on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. Hoping to avoid a second strike in less than three months, a San Francisco Bay Area transit agency and two of its unions negotiated late into the night to work out a new contract as a 60-day cooling off period was coming to an end. (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, Aric Crabb)
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(AP) A long weekend of talks are in store for negotiators for San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit and two unions, who are working to avert a second strike in less than three months.


The unions have vowed to strike if no new labor agreement is reached by Monday, forcing hundreds of thousands of commuters in the nation's fifth-largest rail system to find other ways to work.


With state legislators acting as facilitators and BART's general manager listening to proposals much of the day Friday, the two sides did not discuss specific developments but said the day saw a shift that could lead to a weekend agreement.


"The elements are here that are needed for the two sides to come together," said Pete Castelli, executive director for the Service Employees International Union local 1021.


The SEIU and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 agreed to keep negotiating after a 60-day, state-mandated cooling-off period that prohibited a strike expired Friday, saying their 2,300 members would stay on the job at least through Sunday night.


The unions said BART General Manager Grace Crunican's presence in talks Friday made a difference they had repeatedly criticized her for not being more involved.


"The unions have been clear that they feel that Grace would be helpful in the process," BART spokesman Jim Allison said. "She's been abreast of all of the developments on a daily basis, hourly basis, sometimes."


ATU leader Antonette Bryant said they wanted Crunican at the table "because she's the dealmaker. She's the one who can say yay, nay or whatever."


BART workers went on strike for nearly 5 days in July before Gov. Jerry Brown mandated the cooling-off period.


The unions want a raise of nearly 12 percent over three years while BART has proposed a 10 percent increase over four years. BART said workers from the two unions now average about $71,000 in base salary and $11,000 in overtime annually.


Associated Press
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