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Commuter Train Workers Walk Off Job In Pay Dispute

Mon., Sept. 8, 1997

Employees of the area’s commuter train system walked off the job Sunday in a pay dispute, a strike that could strand thousands when the work week begins.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit’s 56 trains were idled as about 65,000 weekend riders were forced to find other transportation.

There were no immediate problems Sunday. But commuter headaches were expected this morning if the 275,000 daily riders are forced onto roadways.

“Start planning now for how you’re going to get to where you need to get to Monday (this) morning,” BART spokesman Mike Healy said. “It won’t be quite as tough on a Sunday, so you’ve got a full day to start thinking about alternatives.”

Healy said operating the system without the striking workers was not an option.

The system’s 2,600 train operators, station agents, mechanics and other workers walked out at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. Negotiations resumed later in the day between BART management and unions representing the workers but broke off about three hours later. No new talks were scheduled.

BART’s last protracted strike was for three months in 1979, when ridership on the 93-mile system was about half its current number.

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