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Preparations begin for possible BART strike

  • In this file photo from Monday, July 1, 2013, commuters wait in standstill traffic to pay their tolls on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in Oakland, Calif. San Francisco Bay Area commuters braced for the possibility of another train strike as the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency and its workers approached a deadline to reach a new contract deal. The two sides were set to resume negotiations at noon on Thursday, Aug. 1, but did not appear close to an agreement. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND — Union leaders and Bay Area Rapid Transit managers were holding talks aimed at heading off a strike that would leave hundreds of thousands of San Francisco area commuters scrambling for other ways to get to work.

The two sides held negotiations Saturday, with wide gaps remaining on key issues including wages, pensions, worker safety and health care costs.

BART's two largest unions Thursday issued a 72-hour notice that employees would walk off the job Monday if they didn't reach agreement on a new contract by midnight Sunday. The labor action would shut down one of the nation's largest transit systems for the second time in a month.

Antonette Bryant, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, said no progress was made during Friday's negotiations, which ended earlier than she had expected.

"Our team is giving it our best shot. We really do not want to disrupt service Monday," Bryant said Saturday. "We want a deal. We will do whatever it takes."


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