While cheering the opening of the new Bay Bridge today, let's not forget that the Bay Area still has some other serious transportation problems unfolding in front of us.
Amid a 60-day cooling off period, BART labor unions are already reporting that tensions between them and management are not actually cooling off. Union rep Des Patton with Service Employees International Union Local 1021 tells CBS News that her bargaining unit has not heard a peep from BART in the last month -- and that makes her a little nervous.
"We've been wanting to negotiate and have been ready to negotiate," Patton said. "It's sad that we're waiting till the 37th day of a 60-day cooling off period before we can start doing any discussions."
At a Labor Day picnic, union reps explained that only one of the three bargaining units has met with BART management in the last three weeks, and they described that meetup as "brief and unproductive."
Rick Rice, spokesman for BART, tells us that mediators have set a negotiation schedule which resumes bargaining sessions starting Sept. 9.
"To date the mediators have been meeting with each group separately to determine the best path to a deal. The mediators have been exploring all options and speaking to each group individually about them. The mediators have sole authority to set meetings. We've done nothing to get in the way of meeting. ATU was at a conference in San Diego all last week and wasn't even in town," Rice wrote via e-mail.
"We are eager to hear from the unions about our last offer which to date has gone unanswered. We are offering a 10 percent wage increase over 4 years which will result in thousands of extra dollars in take home for every employee even after accounting for employee contributions towards their pension and medical coverage," Rice added.
The cooling off period ends Oct. 10. Good thing the new Bay Bridge opened on time.