BART strike averted with Gov. Jerry Brown

By Sergio Quintana and Lilian Kim, ABC 7

OAKLAND, Calif (KGO) -- The contentious BART negotiations ultimately led to an intervention by Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown stepped in at the last minute to delay a transit strike for, at least, the next seven days. The development means BART trains will be running Monday morning.

Brown eventually called for a board of inquiry. A public board of inquiry is an official review of events or actions. In the order, Brown named a board of investigators for a seven-day inquiry into the contract dispute that threatened to shut the transit agency down on Monday.

The governor used a law allowing the state to intervene if a strike will significantly disrupt public transportation and endanger public health. The governor issued a statement, saying he took action because: "The strike will significantly disrupt public transportation services and will endanger the public's health, safety and welfare."

Union leaders reacted outside of the negotiations.

"On behalf of SEIU, I want to announce that the governor has requested a seven-day board of inquiry or board of investigation. We want to say that we have been here for the last 24 hours and we only got a very regressive proposal from BART," said SEIU negotiator Josie Mooney.

"We went through this, for example, in 2001, where we had the board of inquiry, then we had the long cooling off period and we had the drumbeat strike looms. People don't deserve that. We're happy that they won't be disrupted tomorrow," said George Papyack of ASCME.

"They will determine whether or not, there is reason to extend the period to a 60, or 30 or 60 day cooling off period. That's it and that's all for them," said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant.

The unions will have to present information at a hearing. The board will be assembled by the governor and will determine if there is going to be a 30 or 60 day cooling off period. There will also be for potential negotiations during that time period.

The governor tweeted: "#BREAKING Tonight, I took action to avert a BART strike."

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee responded to Brown's action when he released a statement saying:

"I applaud Governor Brown for his decisive action so that the people of the Bay Area will not endure a debilitating BART strike on Monday. I support the Governor's appointment of a Board of Investigation, staffed with proven professionals who can help move this dispute toward resolution. I continue to urge both BART union and management leaders to reach an agreement that honors the work of BART workers and sets BART on a path of fiscal responsibility and sustainability, as quickly as possible.

Our Bay Area transit agency carries hundreds of thousands of people every day to get to work, to go to school and to travel around our region. A strike would not only have a negative impact on our entire regional economy, but it would undoubtedly hurt working families. These are people who did not have a voice over the last several months during non-conclusive negotiations and they certainly did not have a voice during the last four and a half day strike that caused, not just inconvenience, but a significant hardship for many.

"The riding public is and must remain our number one priority as all parties work to resolve this dispute."

Commuters react

On Sunday night there were BART commuters who were planning on waking up early Monday morning id there was going to be a transit strike. Those people were excited to hear the news.

About 400,000 people use BART on any given day. Those people will no longer have to find alternative forms of transportation.

"I think it's wrong to cripple the Bay Area. To strike, it's just wrong. You know, what they're fighting for and what they want is another story but, to cripple us, it's not like Safeway, you know. Get out of my way, I need some eggs, but this is bad. But I'm really happy to hear that it's, we can now relax, breathe and let them, hopefully, work it out," said BART rider Debbie Jackson.

"I think it's ridiculous. They get paid so much money and it's stopping me from commuting. So, I'm totally against them striking," said BART rider Maggie Miles.

The hope now among BART riders is that both sides will use this time to be productive and come up with an agreement once and for all.

View the original article here.

(Copyright ©2013 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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