Frustrated union officials Friday asked the state attorney general for help in getting BART negotiators back to the bargaining table.
In a letter to Attorney General Kamala Harris, attorneys for the unions said the transit agency has refused to negotiate during the current 60-day court-ordered cooling-off period that prevented workers from walking off the job at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 12th.
Governor Jerry Brown had sought the court order because a second strike by transit workers this summer would have caused “significant harm to the public's health, safety and welfare."
Hours after the rare Sunday court hearing granting Brown’s request, the two parties went back to the table, but the talks broke off at 7 p.m. and no bargaining sessions have been held since.
In its letter to Harris, the union lawyers claim BART management has also stymied the efforts of mediators assigned to the case to set up a time and date for the next bargaining session.
“Although the Unions have each indicated their availability for a number of days, including days last week, and days this week, the District has declined to accept any,” the union letter read.
BART officials have not commented on the letter. However, the unions did include a letter from BART’s lead negotiator Thomas Hock in its petition to Harris that says the agency has presented its “final offer.”
“The District’s actions are wholly consistent with the Court’s Aug. 11 order,” Hock wrote to the unions. “That order merely requires that the parties maintain the status quo, i.e., no strike or lockout. There is nothing in that order that requires the District to continue to provide full time paid release or that specifies any required meeting schedule.”
If the two sides do not reach a new agreement, Bay Area commuters could be facing another transit strike at midnight on Oct. 10.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.