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Transit worker strike ruins commute in San Francisco Bay area

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SAN FRANCISCO -- It was a nightmare of a commute for hundreds of thousands across California's San Francisco Bay area this morning after workers for the city's mass transit system went on strike.

More than 400,000 daily BART riders have to find another way to get around the bay area, causing massive gridlock on the roads.

A team of federal mediators who participated in the talks for four days said the parties succeeded in agreeing to a number of significant items, such as salary, healthcare and pension contributions, but were ultimately "unable to bridge the gap'' on the work rules.

BART unions had offered to have these rules be put in front of an arbitrator, but management did not want to.

"This is a classic example of a labor dispute that has implications far beyond that of the individual parties," said George Cohen, federal mediator. "Unfortunately, regrettably, we were not able to bring home the result we all want to achieve, which is a voluntary collective bargaining agreement."

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