BART strike continues; two workers killed on tracks

[sound of BART emergency transmission]

That was the transmission after a Bay Area Rapid Transit train struck and killed two employees conducting track maintenance. They were the first fatalities in five years for the San Francisco area transit system. The deaths come amidst a transit strike that has brought to a halt commuter transportation aboard the trains. However, management and a skeleton crew of workers not represented by SEIU Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 have been conducting maintenance on trains and tracks. At least one of the workers was confirmed to be a member of AFSCME Local 3993. The local had encouraged members to not cross picket lines. While the transit authority and workers have said they agree on nearly everything in the current contract the one major sticking points continues to be work rules. The authority is seeking greater control over worker grievances concerning harassment or discrimination by management, as well as greater freedom when it comes to scheduling employees. The union has asked that the work rules proposal be submitted to an arbitrator, but BART has refused the proposal.

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