OAKLAND, CA: Singer & Associates worked round the clock over the
Labor Day weekend to prepare for a major transit strike that never
The management of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system retained the
agency in July, when it was clear that contract negotiations weren't
Two unions had contracts up for renewal: Amalgamated Transit Union Local
1555, and Service Employees Union Local 790. The agreement deadline was
"Our objective in the labor negotiations was twofold," said president
Sam Singer. "One was to create a fiscally responsible message that
showed we were protecting the riders and trying to hold fare costs
down." The second was to demonstrate BART's commitment to its labor
force, but also the limitations of the public agency's purse.
Three of Singer's staff were camped out at BART HQ during the week prior
to the deadline. Both sides of the negotiations had polling done to
assess attitudes, and BART regularly kept riders updated on the contract
"We had a series of advertisements ready to go had there been a strike,
delivering BART's message to the riding public, taxpayers, and elected
officials," Singer said, "and a series of editorial board meetings
As it happened, the contract was agreed upon at 1am on September 4, with
a 22% pay raise over four years.
Singer said maintaining stamina during the week was tough. "The biggest
challenge is the physical and mental strength it takes for anyone to
operate in war-room conditions for any period of time and stay sharp,"