Negotiators for the two unions representing the majority of BART workers announced said Saturday night that they walked out of negotiations after 40 hours without a single new economic proposal from agents representing BART's elected board of directors.
The negotiating teams for both unions waited in the bargaining room all day Saturday at the request of the mediator assigned to oversee bargaining, but management negotiators never showed up.
Similar stalling on BART's part took place on Friday as well, according to Antonette Bryant, president of SEIU Local 1021.
"BART management is engaging in what is called 'surface bargaining,'" said Josie Mooney, spokesperson for the local. "They're trying to appear in public like they are working to keep the trains running, but they're doing nothing to respond to good-faith offers by BART workers aimed at avoiding a strike."
She said BART workers and the public were hoping for smoother labor negotiations, with the system now projecting an average surplus of $125 million per year over the next 10 years. But she added that BART has refused to present a certified budget for negotiators to work with throughout the process, and seem to have no intention of doing so.
"These past three months were never about contract negotiations for BART, they were about politics," Bryant said. "The people of the Bay Area deserve better. They, and we, will have to bear the brunt of BART's political charade. All we've asked for is a fair wage and a safe work environment."