BART strike likely on Monday
Talks between Bay Area Rapid Transit management and unions broke down today, leading to the likelihood of a strike as early as Monday. Giving a 72-hour notice to the public as required by law, union leaders announced a strike would begin early on Monday morning.
A BART strike could completely shut down the system, or it could run at a vastly reduced schedule with trains operated by management. Read this LA Times article about the 1997 strike, which shut down the system. In 2005, another strike threatened, but was averted, and commuters were relieved.
The strike is the result of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents station agents and train drivers, rejecting BART contract proposals and voting to authorize a strike, after which the other two unions at BART announced they would honor the ATU picket line. The breakdown in negotiations came after representatives of all three unions had reached a tentative agreement with BART on July 31.
Actually this is probably the best possible time for a BART strike. UC Berkeley summer school ends tomorrow. Twenty percent of people are on vacation, plus another ten or fifteen percent are unemployed in the first place. The Giants begin an 11-game road series tomorrow. It seems there will be little reason to cross the bay at all — so tomorrow, go to work, get your laptop, and stay home next week.
However, CalTrans plans to shut the Bay Bridge over Labor Day weekend. BART had been planning to run trains 24 hrs a day that weekend to make up for the closure. If the BART strike lasts into Labor Day weekend, the result could be a real nightmare.