UPDATE: 7:37 a.m. Friday, BART and union officials have said they’ll continue to negotiate through the weekend. Now the earliest a strike could happen is Monday and APE attendees can expect to transport as originally planned.
A potential strike by Bay Area Rapid Transit workers could cause some headaches for attendees of the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco this weekend. Negotiations continue at this hour between unions representing the BART employees and management. APE has comprehensive transportation instructions on it’s website for both driving and taking MUNI. There are quite a few parking options around the Concourse, but if BART isn’t running there will likely be a higher concentration of cars than usual. Be sure to budget for at the least $20 per day for parking. The expo provides free shuttles from CalTrain on Townsend, Westfield Shopping Center, and the Civic Center BART station.
If negotiations break down the strike could start as early as midnight tonight.
The BART workers, represented by SEIU Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, have been seeking their first wage increase in five years. Four years ago they chose not to request a wage increase so they could help BART cope with the economic downturn. BART also cut back on safety measures and instated a hiring freeze four years ago. BART ridership has been increasing, so workers are being asked to do more with less. They’re asking for certain safety measures be reinstated and staffing levels increased. There were 31 assaults against BART workers in 2012. Further, BART workers are concerned about an increased use of contractors in the system and would like the new contract to guarantee job protection.
Since a 60-day cooling off period ended the workers have cut their original wage demands in half, have offered to pick up pension costs, and are willing to pay more into health care than management had originally requested.