12-07-2016  6:27 am      •     



Striking union workers for San Francisco's transit system resume work Friday without a contract while negotiations continue, officials said.

"BART workers will return to service without a contract agreement in place," said Marty Morgenstern, the leader of the state Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

"Both parties have agreed and are putting good faith in the continuing negotiations."

Bay Area Rapid Transit is expected to resume services at 3 p.m. local time Friday.

The two sides negotiated for hours through high-level mediators appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Still, the talks haven't been easy, said Joe Bomberger, a negotiator for the Service Employees International Union, one of the two largest unions representing the striking workers.

"Tired, frustrated, that's probably the nice way to put it," Bomberger, a 23-year employee, told CNN affiliate KGO.

About 400,000 people use the service daily and have been affected since the strike began Monday.

The dispute centers on pay and benefits.

Unions asked for a 21percent pay increase. BART initially offered to increase salaries by 4percent over four years, but later proposed an 8percent increase; that was on top of a 1percent increase scheduled to go into effect Monday.

The executive director of SEIU Local 1021, Pete Castelli, said Thursday that BART is now engaged in "surface bargaining" that is forcing the strike to continue.

"Every action that BART takes confirms to us that they have no interest in resolving this fairly or quickly," Castelli said in a statement. "Instead, they keep trying to shove the blame on the men and women who just want a safer BART and a fair contract. It's clear that their only agenda is to reach a point to impose the contract on the workers and to weaken the union."

BART is the nation's fifth-largest train system in the United States, with 44 stations in 26 cities that make up the Bay Area, according to the transit authority.

It handles more than 40percent of Bay Area commuters, according to CNN affiliate KPIX.

CNN's Jake Carpenter contributed to this report

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