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    Calif. transit strike averted for now

    San Francisco-area transit lines ran Monday after a deadline was extended.
    Ben Margot/Associated Press
    San Francisco-area transit lines ran Monday after a deadline was extended.

    OAKLAND, Calif. — San Francisco Bay Area commuters faced another day of uncertainty Monday as a major regional transit agency and two of its largest unions held talks under the ever-present threat of a strike.

    ‘‘I am so frustrated with the way they’ve been holding the riders hostage,’’ said commuter Toba Villatore, 45, of San Francisco as she headed to work. ‘‘I’m tired of staying up until midnight wondering if there’s going to be a strike or not.’’

    Representatives of Bay Area Rapid Transit and the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1555, and the Service Employees International Union, Local 1021, resumed negotiations Monday afternoon only hours after tense negotiations ended around 3 a.m.


    The overnight talks came after the union backed off a threatened midnight strike deadline, instead giving management a 24-hour reprieve from what would have been the second strike in four months. Trains were running as usual Monday.

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    BART General Manager Grace Crunican said Sunday the ‘‘last best and final offer’’ presented to the unions Sunday is $7 million higher than Friday’s proposal and includes a raise of 3 percent a year and contributions to their health and medical plans.

    Josie Mooney, a chief negotiator for SEIU, said before Monday discussions that the parties are about $16 million apart over four years. ‘‘It doesn’t make any sense to issue a last, best and final offer that they knew in advance that we would not be able to accept,’’ Mooney said.

    Crunican said the unions have two weeks from Sunday to accept the deal before it is taken off the table.

    BART workers went on strike for nearly five days in July and were about to on Friday when a 60-day cooling-off period ordered by Governor Jerry Brown expired, but continued negotiating over the weekend.

    Associated Press