IR # 97-51
Saturday, September 13, 1997

Rick Rice
Dean Fryer
(415) 972-8835

State Mediators Win Praise Guiding BART Negotiations

SAN FRANCISCO -- The acting director of the Department of Industrial Relations, John C. Duncan, praised the efforts of state mediators in bringing the week-long strike by employees of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District to a close early Saturday morning.

"I am very proud of the hard work put in by the entire staff of the State Mediation and Conciliation Service. Their efforts over the past two months, but particularly during the past two hectic weeks, played a critical role in settling this dispute to the satisfaction of all parties. With BART back on track, hundreds of thousands of commuters will be able to resume their normal weekday routines, and the Bay Area will be relieved of the uncertainty and unprecedented gridlock that has greatly inconvenienced residents and businesses in recent days," Duncan said.

Since July, mediators from the Department's Mediation and Conciliation Service have spent in excess of 260 hours in meetings with representatives from BART management and its three unions, including around the clock sessions in recent days. A tentative agreement was initially reached at around 4:30 last Tuesday morning during the final all-night negotiations with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3993, which represents BART supervisors and train controllers. Settlements with the two largest unions, Service Employees International Union Local 790 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 were reached early today.

The 275,000 daily commuters who rely on BART to get them to work and around the Bay Area were left scrambling for alternative modes of transportation on Sunday, and the usual weekday commute quickly became one of the worst commute weeks in Bay Area history. BART employees walked off the job just after midnight on last Sunday morning, September 7, after they rejected the $28 million salary and benefits contract proposal offered by management at the end if the 60-day cooling off period called by Governor Wilson in July. State mediators, who are employees of the California Department of Industrial Relations, were called in to help management and labor forge agreements on the outstanding issues.

"The state mediation team, led by Chief Peter Lujuan, has once again performed swiftly, professionally and quietly in the background, helping the parties focus on the issues and resolve the myriad of details involved in this dispute," Duncan said. "On behalf of the entire Bay Area I wish to offer them our gratitude and congratulations for a job well done."