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1,200 BART Workers Call Strike for Monday

Associated Press

Twelve hundred mechanics, janitors and clerks of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District will strike Monday morning, and 500 other employees have promised to honor picket lines, a union official said.

“The leadership has selected Monday . . . 12:01 a.m. to commence a strike against the BART district. . . , " said Suzanne Angeli, vice president of Local 790 of the United Public Employees Union.

Hank White, leader of Local 1555 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, told Local 790 that he will issue letters to his members telling them that they should honor the picket lines, Angeli said.

Between them, the two unions represent nearly two-thirds of BART employees, which each day carries about 204,000 riders in three Bay Area counties.

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District officials, beginning immediately after Local 790’s announcement, began re-examining the union’s demands and trying to figure out how to keep the system operating, BART spokesman Sy Mouber said.

“We will of course begin making plans as to what level of service we can operate,” Mouber said. “A problem we’re going to have is certifying people who are going to be operating the trains.”

Local 1555 represents 500 train operators and station agents.

District officials planned to meet with a mediator this morning, Mouber said. But no new talks were scheduled.

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BART officials said earlier that if both unions went on strike, the system’s managers might be able to provide limited train service, as they did during a 1979 strike.

Members of Local 790 rejected the public agency’s contract offer Wednesday night by a 464-354 vote. Non-economic issues, including proposed changes in work rules, working conditions, safety-related issues and union rights are at the center of the dispute, Angeli said.

Local 1555 approved the contract by six votes, 170 to 164, and BART’s board of directors ratified that agreement on Thursday.

But Local 1555, after a meeting with Local 790 late Thursday, reaffirmed its promise to honor picket lines.

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