Many of BART's 355,000 daily commuters are still unaware that the agency might go on strike next week, which would cause quite a meltdown throughout the Bay Area.
Five unions representing 3,000 BART employees are currently in talks with BART over the management's proposals for solving its projected $250 million budget deficit over the next four years. BART is hoping to cut labor costs by $100 million by asking workers to foot more of the bill on their benefits and pension packages and by possibly implementing a four-year wage freeze.
The unions laid a smaller cost-cutting proposal on the table, but when neither side budged last night after a nine-hour negotiation, the Amalgamated Transit Union or ATU, which represents about 1,000 train operators and station agents, approved and authorized their union to strike. It would be the first BART strike in twelve years.