It appeared likely that AC Transit buses would keep rolling for another two months as Gov. Jerry Brown was asked to issue a cooling-off period to avert a strike set for Thursday morning.
The East Bay bus line asked the governor for a 60-day cooling-off period that would begin with a week-long strike delay while Brown appoints a panel to investigate the talks, and then a judge would bar strikes for another two months. That process is considered routine.
The bus line's Board of Directors had sent the request a week prior, on Oct. 8, but waited to reveal it until Tuesday, a day after union workers formally issued a 72-hour strike notice. That had left 100,000 people who ride the bus line round trip each day in the dark for 24 hours while AC Transit had declined to comment.
More than 1,600 union members twice voted down tentative agreements this year, as management and workers continue to fight over pay increases, health care contributions and other issues.
No negotiations have taken place in the past three weeks, AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said Tuesday.
"We're ready and willing to resume negotiating at any time," Johnson said.
It comes as BART and its unions continue to negotiate with a possible strike still looming.
"It's certainly not a good time for this. If BART is out and we are as well, it would be catastrophic," Johnson said.
Unions had said workers were fed up, particularly with what they see as a management proposal to significantly raise health care costs, and were ready to walk out.
AC Transit and its unions began bargaining in March and the workers' contract expired at the end of June.
Brown's office was still reviewing the request Tuesday and declined comment.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at twitter.com/RosenbergMerc.
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