Mediation averts San Francisco train workers’ strike.

San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) management and unions representing BART staff have been locked in ‘labor negotiations’ since April this year.

BART workers walked off the job for nearly five days in July. That strike resulted in traffic jams and long lines for buses.

BART is the nation’s fifth-largest rail system. It serves about 400,000 riders each weekday.” Capradio

The dispute came to a head last week, with the Unions threatening to once again strike if a deal was not struck by midnight (local time) on Sunday 13 October.

Enter George Cohen, Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. CBS reporter Joe Vazquez described the immediate impact of Choen’s mediation style:

The union reps seem obsessed with the way they are being treated inside the meetings. They insist that they are constantly being disrespected by management reps.

Enter the federal mediator, George Cohen. I was outside the Caltrans building until 1:15 am Tuesday morning. Neither side was telling us much, but union rank-and-file reps who were at the table indicated there was a dramatic change of tone the moment Cohen entered the room.” CBS

Negotiations are continuing, with BART’s website reporting:

Comments of FMCS Director George Cohen: “I have been authorized by the parties to announce that the negotiations are continuing under our auspices. Progress is being made. Out of respect to the public and BART ridership I have also been authorized to announce that trains will be running all day tomorrow.”

Further reports on this dispute and the deployment of Mediator Cohen can be read here:

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