BART, union negotiations to go on hold for part of 30-day negotiating period 

click to enlarge Trains arrive as commuters wait at the Embarcadero BART station in San Francisco, Friday, July 5, 2013. Commuter rail service resumed Friday in the San Francisco Bay Area after unions called off a strike and agreed to extend a labor contract for a month while bargaining continues. - AP PHOTO/MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ
  • AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
  • Trains arrive as commuters wait at the Embarcadero BART station in San Francisco, Friday, July 5, 2013. Commuter rail service resumed Friday in the San Francisco Bay Area after unions called off a strike and agreed to extend a labor contract for a month while bargaining continues.

Negotiations between BART management and its two biggest labor unions will take a break later this month when the transit agency's $399,000 chief negotiator goes on vacation.

BART and Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 – the two unions that went on strike July 1 – are back at the negotiating table today, as the two sides try to come to terms on a new contract with the help of state-appointed mediators.

Representing BART is Tom Hock, an Ohio labor attorney who specializes in transit systems.

The two sides have until Aug. 5 to flesh out a deal or another strike is possible. But no meetings are scheduled from July 22 to 29, union members said Thursday, and the reason is Hock will be out of town on vacation.

A BART spokesman confirmed that there are "gaps" in the negotiation schedule but said Hock will attend "every session the mediators currently have scheduled and more if needed."

BART resumed service July 5 when the unions agreed to go back to work under the old deal for at least 30 days.

Key contract issues include health care, pay and retirement benefits.

About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts

Bio:
Chris Roberts has worked as a reporter in San Francisco since 2008, with an emphasis on city governance and politics, The City’s neighborhoods, race, poverty and the drug war.
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