Last updated: October 15. 2013 4:36AM - 317 Views
Associated Press



A man enters the Lake Merritt BART station Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. San Francisco Bay Area rapid trains are running Monday morning after the transit agency and two of its largest unions agreed to extend contract talks over the weekend to avoid a strike. Tense negotiations ended around 3 a.m. after the unions gave a 24-hour reprieve from a planned midnight Sunday strike. Representatives of Bay Area Rapid Transit leaders and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 resumed negotiations shortly before noon Monday (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
A man enters the Lake Merritt BART station Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. San Francisco Bay Area rapid trains are running Monday morning after the transit agency and two of its largest unions agreed to extend contract talks over the weekend to avoid a strike. Tense negotiations ended around 3 a.m. after the unions gave a 24-hour reprieve from a planned midnight Sunday strike. Representatives of Bay Area Rapid Transit leaders and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 resumed negotiations shortly before noon Monday (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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(AP) A major San Francisco Bay Area transit system was to continue running train service for Tuesday morning's commute after unions and management agreed to extend labor talks past a midnight deadline.


Bay Area Rapid Transit unions had said they would go on strike if they didn't reach a contract deal by midnight Monday after extending stalled negotiations from over the weekend.


The possibility of a strike loomed as the unions gave management a 24-hour reprieve from what would have been the second strike in more than three months. BART workers walked off the job for nearly five days in July. That strike resulted in traffic jams and long lines for buses.


Representatives of BART, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 resumed negotiations Monday afternoon, hours after tense negotiations ended around 3 a.m.


Sticking points in the 6-month-old negotiations include salaries and workers' contributions to their health and pension plans.


BART General Manager Grace Crunican said a "last, best and final offer" presented to the unions Sunday was $7 million higher than a proposal presented Friday. It includes an annual 3 percent raise over four years and requires workers to contribute 4 percent toward their pension and 9.5 percent toward medical benefits.


Crunican said the unions had two weeks to accept the deal before it would be taken off the table.


The unions said the parties were about $16 million apart over four years.


Workers from the two unions, which represent more than 2,300 mechanics, custodians, station agents, train operators and clerical staff, now average about $71,000 in base salary and $11,000 in overtime annually, the transit agency said. BART workers currently pay $92 a month for health care and contribute nothing toward their pensions.


BART is the nation's fifth-largest rail system. It serves about 400,000 riders each weekday.


Associated Press
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