The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Nation & World

October 19, 2013

Train kills 2 track workers amid SF Bay strike

OAKLAND, Calif. — A commuter train that is part of a San Francisco Bay Area system whose employees are on strike hit and killed two maintenance workers Saturday afternoon, officials said.

The accident that killed one system employee and one contractor in the East Bay city of Walnut Creek occurred shortly before 2 p.m. as the train was on a routine maintenance run operated by a manager, Bay Area Rapid Transit officials said.

"This is a tragic day in BART's history," the system's general manager, Grace Crunican, said in a statement. "The entire BART family is grieving."

BART officials said in a statement that the manager was an "experienced operator" and the four-car train was being run in automatic mode under computer control at the time of the accident.

Officials from the two unions representing BART workers, who have been on strike since Thursday, have warned of the danger that could come with allowing managers to operate trains.

At least one of the unions, Amalgamated Transit Union 1555 announced that its 900 workers would not be picketing on Sunday out of respect for the victims and their families.

Also Saturday, ATU local president Antonette Bryant said she was taking a final contract offer from BART before members for a vote, but expects it will be rejected.

"It's our hope we can get it to members this week," Bryant told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. She said she expects the vote to be "a resounding no."

The two workers killed were performing track inspections about a mile from the Walnut Creek station in an area some 25 miles northeast of San Francisco in response to a reported dip in the track, BART said.

"Both people had extensive experience working around moving trains in both the freight train and the rapid transit industry," BART said.

The procedures for such maintenance require one employee to inspect the track and the other to serve as a lookout for oncoming traffic, BART officials said, but they did not immediately say whether that procedure was being followed.

Police placed yellow tarps over the two dead who were about 150 yards apart on the tracks.

The victim's names and ages were not immediately released.

The manager was shuttling the train cars between yards to have graffiti cleaned off them, BART Assistant General Manager Paul Oversier told the Contra Costa Times.

Before the accident, union leaders spent the day attempting to convince the riders who make 400,000 daily trips on the system that workers' demands are not unreasonable amid increasing hostility in social media and other outlets.

The ATU agreed with BART management on the economic parts of the contract, including a 12 percent pay raise that when increased pension and health insurance costs becomes nearly a 1 percent salary loss for workers, Bryant said. The two sides came to an impasse over work rules, including the length of the work day and when overtime pay kicks in, the union said.

BART spokesman Rick Rice said that the two sides remain in communication though they were not expected back at the bargaining table.

Messages left for negotiators from the Service Employees International Union, which also represents workers, were not immediately returned.

However, SEIU president Roxanne Sanchez said they were willing to sign off on pay, health care and pension issues, and send the remaining snarl — work rules — to an arbitrator, a proposal BART has previously refused. But BART officials later said they would be willing to send the entire contract to arbitration but not the work rules alone.

Thus, with no deal in place, residents were spending a weekend without BART service, complicating vacation plans and making it tough for fans heading to events including a music show on Treasure Island and art exhibits throughout San Francisco's Open Studios.

Six months of on-again, off-again negotiations have brought agreement on key issues such as raises, health care and pensions. But there remained a snarl late Thursday that sent workers back to picket lines for the second time since July: a package of work rules involving when schedules are posted, whether workers can file for overtime when they've been out sick, and how paychecks are delivered.

Weekend BART use is light compared with the workweek, and frustrated commuters Friday said they hoped an agreement could be quickly reached.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit system carries its ridership through tunnels under the bay and into the region's urban core of San Francisco from four surrounding counties, relieving what would otherwise be congested bridges.

In an effort to alleviate delays, many of the Bay Area's other 27 transit systems added bus, ferry and rail service Friday. Carpools and rideshare programs were also busy, and more cyclists took to the streets. Ferry operators said their ridership doubled.

But traffic was sluggish during both commutes, and lines at bridge toll plazas were backed up for miles.

Many simply avoided the hassle, telecommuting instead.

 

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • Obama Immigration-6 [Duplicate] Obama: Offshore 'tax inversions' are unpatriotic

    President Barack Obama says a loophole that lets companies dodge U.S. taxes by moving their headquarters overseas is unpatriotic.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_carjackingcrash.jpg Carjacked SUV hits crowd, killing three young siblings

    Two men carjacked a woman at gunpoint but soon sped out of control, killing three children Friday as they plowed into a group selling fruit to raise money for their church, Philadelphia police said.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_israel-palestinianstunnels.jpg Gaza sides agree to lull but truce efforts stall

    Israel-Hamas fighting looked headed for escalation after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry failed Friday to broker a weeklong truce as a first step toward a broader deal and Israel's defense minister warned Israel might soon expand its Gaza ground operation "significantly."

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_azexecution.jpg Arizona's McCain: Execution was torture

    U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Gay Marriage.jpg Same-sex marriage ban struck down for Miami area

    A Florida judge on Friday overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage in a ruling that applies to Miami-Dade County, agreeing with a judge in another county who made a similar ruling last week.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • County doctor arrested on drug charges

    A Fishers doctor with ties to Pendleton was arrested Friday in a Drug Enforcement Administration raid of numerous doctor’s office in central Indiana.

    July 25, 2014

  • Doctor: Patient killed caseworker before gunfight

    A doctor told police that a patient fatally shot a caseworker at their hospital complex before the doctor pulled out his own gun and exchanged fire with him and wounded him, a prosecutor said Thursday night.

    July 25, 2014

  • Alaska vintage tourist train to resume Friday

    A vintage rail company that transports hundreds of thousands of tourists a year along the route of the historic Klondike Gold Rush suspended operations while it investigates a derailment that left 23 people with minor injuries, officials said.

    July 25, 2014

  • Social Security spent $300 million on 'IT boondoggle'

    Six years ago the Social Security Administration embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims. Nearly $300 million later, the new system is nowhere near ready and agency officials are struggling to salvage a project racked by delays and mismanagement, according to an internal report commissioned by the agency.

    July 24, 2014

  • Plane crashes in Taiwan, 47 trapped, feared dead

    A plane landing in stormy weather crashed outside an airport on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, and a transport minister said 47 people were trapped and feared dead.

    July 23, 2014

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium