Union leaders extended a strike deadline by 24 hours Sunday, granting Bay Area commuters a day's grace, but blasted BART leadership for what they called a refusal to negotiate.
BART leaders "unceremoniously yanked their offer and gave us a last, best and final offer, which is a indication of an impasse and that they are no longer willing to bargain," said Antonette Bryant, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555.
Bryant said the union would not go on strike Sunday night because "the public deserves better" but warned that time was limited.
"We will give the district one more day, one more day, to get it together," Bryant said. "We are disheartened by the dishonesty and the obvious lack of respect for the members and for the riding public."
Service Employees International Union Local 1021 Executive Director Pete Castelli said the two sides had come close to reaching a deal but remained at odds over issues including work rules affecting worker safety.
Earlier this evening, state elected officials also criticized BART leadership for presenting a "final" offer to unions at 4 p.m. in a move that
they described as impeding progress toward a contract deal, but urged both sides to continue negotiating.
Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said that she was "disappointed" by BART's actions Sunday and wanted talks to continue.
"We want discussions to keep going, we want both sides to get to yes," Skinner said, speaking outside the building where labor talks are taking place.
"We are asking labor to take more time, and we want BART to withdraw that final offer so that the talks can keep going," Skinner said.
Skinner spoke with a group of state legislators that included Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, and state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro.
Sunday night's angry language marks a shift from the more positive tone of Saturday's talks, which BART officials called "productive." Union and
elected officials including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom have expressed optimism Sunday that a deal was possible.
BART management began negotiating on April 1 with the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represent which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, and ATU Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and clerical workers.
Workers went on strike for four and a half days at the beginning of July but returned to the bargaining table at the request of Gov. Jerry
When a strike again seemed imminent, Brown sought a 60-day cooling-off period, which expired last week. The unions announced late Thursday night that they would postpone a potential strike, but issued a 72-hour strike notice.