While Bay Area residents deal with the disruption of a possible BART shutdown Tuesday, AC Transit hit them with another major blow. AC Transit workers gave a 72-hour notice that they intend to walk off the job on Thursday.
If the bus workers make good on their threat and BART is on strike, two of the Bay Area’s largest public transit outlets would be shutdown. Between AC Transit and BART, they transport some 300,000 Bay Area residents each day.
With an AC Transit strike on the horizon, BART union workers and management face even more pressure to succeed in their negotiations. As of 5:30 p.m., John Alston of ABC7 reported that union representatives claim BART management is “jamming the other side,” even though both sides say they are close to a deal. Alston also reported that both sides are “$6 to $10 million dollars apart” in the negotiations, as the midnight deadline looms closer.
The threat of an AC Transit strike comes as a shock to many commuters. Its contract expired over the summer, but union representatives and officials have twice avoided a walkout since then.
We will have more information on this story as it develops.
UPDATE: Joyce Willis, the financial secretary/treasurer spoke with reporter Niema Jordan about a possible AC Transit strike.
“If we don’t go back to the table, there will be nothing to stop us,” Willis said of the workers’ plan to strike. “As far as we know we are going at 12:01 am on Thursday.”
Though the timing is incredibly inconvenient for commuters, Willis says it is not intentional.
“Right now we are not concerned with BART, it’s just a coincidence that this is happening at the same time,” she said.
Workers are unhappy with the latest contract proposed by AC Transit management, and on Oct. 2, they posted a statement rejecting the deal to their Facebook page. Among things works disagree with, they take the most issue with management’s plan to “significantly increase” co-pays for medical premiums.
“We’re looking out for ATU Local 192 members,” Willis said.
Clarence Johnson, an AC Transit spokesperson says that management is aware of the strike notice, and that it will respond appropriately after reviewing it.
“All I can tell you is that we did receive a notification from the union, ATU local 92 of a strike as of Thursday morning at 12:01 a.m. We will review it, and decide what steps to take next,” Johnson said.