BART

BART fined $210,000 for accident killing two workers

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The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration is fining Bay Area Rapid Transit $210,000 for three "willful/serious" safety violations connected to the death of two transit workers, citing a lack of safety measures at BART as the fault of their deaths.Read more »

BART approves contract as tensions with its workers continue UPDATED

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The BART Board of Directors today approved a modified contract with its two biggest labor unions, an action that received faint praise and was followed up with implied threats from both sides, continuing one of the ugliest and most impactful Bay Area labor disputes in recent memory.Read more »

Unions suing BART board over contract disagreement today, no strike yet

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Two of BART's largest unions will announce a lawsuit against the BART board of directors today on the steps of the Alameda County Superior Court at 11am, which they plan to file shortly before the press conference.

The suit will directly challenge the board's Nov. 21 decision to ratify a contract between the unions and BART management without a hotly contested provision on family leave.

In their announcement of the suit, SEIU Local 1021 and ATU Local 1555 allege the board made "illegitimate and unprecedented actions" in ratifying the contract while removing a section on family leave, which was signed off on by BART management in July. Under the provision, workers who go on leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act would be paid for six of the 12 weeks the law allows them to take unpaid. 

Management has since called signing off on family leave a "mistake," and the board asked all sides to ratify a contract without the provision, hence the lawsuit.

But would a lawsuit mean a new strike? Read more »

BART "mistake" threatens its contract agreement with workers UPDATED

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Just when it appeared the ugly contract impasse between BART management and workers was over — a divisive struggle that resulted in two debilitating four-day strikes and the Oct. 19 death of two workers struck by a train being used to train possible replacement drivers — BART management is threatening to scuttle the deal over a provision it says was mistakenly added to the contract. Read more »

Media misses connection between BART tragedy and settlement

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BART continues to stonewall important questions about whether it was training scab drivers to break the recent strike by its unions when its trainee-driven train killed two workers on Oct. 19 — a stance made possible by the failure of the mainstream media to connect the dots or correct the anti-union bias that characterized its coverage of this long labor impasse.Read more »

Tragedy follows strike

Two workers killed by BART train the district was using on a "training run," despite safety warnings from the striking unions

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news@sfbg.com

On Oct. 19, the second day of a BART strike that hobbled the Bay Area transportation system, two BART workers were struck and killed by a northbound train in Walnut Creek, adding a tragic and surreal element to the charged blame-games that have characterized this labor impasse.Read more »

Lessons of the BART standoff

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EDITORIAL BART and its unions reached a tentative deal on new contracts late Monday (10/21) night, the next day restoring service that had been disrupted by the second four-day strike this year. Now, it's time for everyone to move on from this impasse — and the ugly demonization of workers that accompanied it — and try to heal the damage that was done.Read more »

Train that struck and killed two BART workers was operated by trainee

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National Transportation Safety Board investigator James Southworth confirmed at a press conference on the afternoon of Oct. 21 that the train that struck two BART workers was “in operation for training and maintenance purposes,” and that the operator at the time of the fatal crash was a trainee. He said two of the six people on board were trainees.

The NTSB conducted interviews for 8-10 hours with the train operator, the operator's supervisor and someone from the dispatch office. Read more »

BART chief outlines rules for avoiding Saturday's fatalities UPDATED

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UPDATED 5:30 PM: Guardian News Editor Rebecca Bowe filed a report from the latest NTSB press conference on the BART accident that claimed the lives of two workers in the midst of the BART strike, which can be read here.Read more »

The Gilded Age of Austerity and the breakdown of civil society

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Is this the week that civil society in the US finally collapses? It’s starting to feel that way. Most of the federal government is already shut down, and on Thursday, it could start defaulting on its debts, possibly dragging down the global economy. And here in the Bay Area, our transportation system will descend into gridlock if strikes shut down BART tomorrow and AC Transit on Thursday, as their unions are threatening. Read more »