Two BART workers were killed when a train hit them near Walnut Creek station in San Francisco, California, on Saturday. Charles Sheppard, a BART employee, and Larry Daniels, a private contractor were investigating a dip in the track when they were struck by the train. Sheppard was a union member and was planning on retiring in a few years. Candlelight vigils were held in memory of the two men on Sunday.
The train was not carrying any passengers at the time of the accident.
The train was running on auto-pilot but had an "experienced" driver at the controls. It was reported that BART had been training managers to operate trains in the case of a prolonged strike. Union officials released a statement Sunday that they had repeatedly warned BART about the dangers of non-union members operating the trains.
The strike began on Friday when The Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 could not reach an agreement. Their disagreement is in regard to the length of the workday and when overtime pay should start.
The fatal accident has also sparked additional proposals between the unions regarding the safety of the employees. Commuters were told to make other plans for getting to work on Monday as the strike continues.
The National Transportation Safety Board has begun investigating the scene but have not commented on the strike and the accident being related.
The BART system is the United States fifth largest public transportation system and has an average of 400,000 commuters each week. Sheppard and Daniels were the sixth and seventh employees ever killed in BART's 41 year history.
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