BART workers threaten to strike over contract |

BART workers threaten to strike over contract

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Bay Area Rapid Transit workers are laying the groundwork for a possible strike if contract negotiations fail.

Two BART unions, which cover more than 1,100 workers, voted Tuesday to authorize a strike if union leaders decide to do so after the current contract expires July 1. A third BART union is scheduled to vote Thursday on a possible strike.

Contract negotiations continue amid BART’s projected operating shortfall of nearly $250 million over the next four years. Officials are implementing fare hikes and seeking $100 million in labor savings by reducing health and pension benefits.

The agency’s three largest unions Wednesday asked a state mediator to help with the talks. Management for the transit agency says it also supports mediation.