BART and unions meeting with mediators as conflict continues

Representatives of BART and its two biggest labor unions met separately Tuesday with state mediators but won’t resume formal negotiations until Friday, BART spokesman Rick Rice said.

Tuesday’s talks are the first since late Thursday night, when management and the unions agreed to extend workers’ existing contract for 30 days so they can continue to try to find common ground on a new contract.

The agreement ended a strike, at least temporarily, by members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 — which represents 945 station agents, train operators and clerical workers — and Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics and clerical workers.

BART service resumed at 3 p.m. Friday, ending the 4½-day strike, which began July 1.

Rice said it will be up to state mediators to determine the format for the formal negotiations Friday. He said the talks could be face-to-face, or the mediators could decide to shuttle back and forth between the two sides to trade proposals.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Rice said.

Among the key issues in the contract talks, which began April 1, are wages, employee contributions for health care and retirement costs, and safety.

Union leaders were not available for comment Tuesday.

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