Governor intervenes to avoid BART strike

Published: Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 - 6:23 am
Last Modified: Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 - 11:19 am

Today's trip to the Bay Area should be smooth for Sacramento commuters.

After threats of a midnight BART strike - a result of months at the bargaining table - Gov. Jerry Brown called for a seven-day investigation into the labor dispute. A three-person board will report back with findings, and Brown's action prohibits any possible strike in the meantime.

“For the sake of the people of the Bay Area, I urge – in the strongest terms possible – the parties to meet quickly and as long as necessary to get this dispute resolved,” Brown said in his order

Unions representing the majority of BART employees issued a 72-hour strike notice early Friday that would have caused a traffic nightmare across the Bay Area this morning. Toward the tail end of Sunday night's bargaining run, BART President Tom Radulovich sent a letter to Brown seeking a cooling-off period.

"We believe the public should not be deprived of this essential public service unless all alternatives to avoid a work stoppage have been utilized," Radulovich stated.

At the end of the seven-day investigation, Brown will decide whether or not to impose a 60-day cooling-off period, which would force further bargaining - and avoid a strike - until mid-October at the earliest.

A four-day BART strike in June proved frustrating for commuters, even with added bus and ferry services. BART trains carry an estimated 400,000 passengers daily.

Call The Bee's Janelle Bitker, (916) 321-1027. Follow her in Twitter @JanelleBitker.

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