Tentative Deal Heads Off Shutdown of Golden Gate Transit Buses

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Golden Gate Bridge union leaders at a September 2014 press conference to announce a work stoppage. Now Bus drivers have announced a one-day strike for Friday, Oct. 17. (Isabel Angell/KQED)

Update, 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16: The Golden Gate Bridge district and union members who planned a one-day strike Friday say they've reached a tentative agreement they say will avert a walkout tomorrow.

The planned strike -- by two Teamsters Union locals that are part of a labor coalition negotiating a new contract with the district -- was expected to have a potentially more serious impact on Golden Gate Bridge traffic than two earlier 24-hour work stoppages.

That's because unionized Golden Gate bus drivers who are not part of the coalition had agreed not to cross the Teamsters' picket lines. The bridge district says its average weekday ridership is about 22,000 total boardings. The buses carry a total of about 4,000 passengers across the Golden Gate Bridge during every morning rush hour and roughly the same number in the evening.

Original post (Friday, Oct. 10): Golden Gate Transportation District buses will be shut down next Friday, with Amalgamated Transit Union bus drivers saying they'll refuse to cross picket lines as Teamsters maintenance workers, dispatchers and supervisors stage a one-day strike.

It's the latest work stoppage in a continuing battle between the district, which operates the bridge, bus and ferry services, and a coalition of 13 unions representing about 450 workers. The principal dispute in the contract dispute, which has been the subject of negotiations since April, center on pay and district proposals for higher worker contributions to their health care plans.


Next Friday’s strike action will be the third by the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition against the district in recent months. In mid-September, the eight-member Machinists Union held a one-day strike that did not affect commuters. In late September, ferry captains halted all ferry service for one day.

ATU Local 1575 is not part of the labor coalition, but officials cited safety as one concern in announcing they would not cross next Friday's Teamsters picket line. From the Marin Independent Journal:

"We are not striking, but we will not cross the picket line in support of the strike," said Ray Messier, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union 1575. "It would also be unsafe to drive the coaches without the dispatchers and others."

The bridge district has contacted state mediators for help, said Priya Clemens, district spokeswoman.

"We have asked the union coalition multiple times to join us in that mediation; so far they have been unwilling," she said. "The strike will not only be inconvenient, but unfair to our customers."

According to district statistics, Golden Gate buses had average weekday ridership of about 22,000 for the most recent fiscal year reported, 2012-13. The buses carry a total of about 4,000 passengers across the Golden Gate Bridge during every morning rush hour and roughly the same number in the evening.

Correction: An earlier version of this post reported that Golden Gate Transportation District bus drivers will strike Friday, Oct. 17. However, the union local representing the drivers says they will not be striking but instead will refrain from crossing a picket line involving other union workers.