BART employees go back to work after four-day strike in SF area

July 5, 2013 at 7:57 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, July 5 (UPI) -- Bay Area Rapid Transit workers were returning to work Friday after a four-day strike and San Francisco-area trains "will be running again," an official said.

Negotiations for a new contract were to continue. A marathon negotiating session ended late Thursday, the Bay Area News Group reported.

The strike created lengthy commutes and traffic jams for the thousands of commuters who used the trains to get from East Bay to San Francisco daily.

"We're very pleased that these workers will be back to work and the trains will begin running again," said Marty Morgenstern, secretary of the state Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

The union had asked for a 5 percent raise in each of the first three years of a four-year contract. BART management countered with a 2 percent raise for each year of the contract, which covers 2,400 workers who keep the trains running.

BART said union train operators and station agents average about $82,000 per year, including more than $10,000 in overtime pay. The workers pay a flat $92 monthly fee for health insurance.

The two sides have until Aug. 4 to sort out a contract. BART workers agreed to continue working under their current contract until then, the report said.

Antonette Bryant, president of Local 155 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, criticized BART for "hijacking the entire situation and causing anxiety."

"They have 30 days to get it right," she said.

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