News


Assembly committee votes down Baker's bill to prevent BART strikes

State Sen. Glazer to introduce his own strike-ban legislation 'in coming weeks'

Local Assemblywoman Catharine Baker's initial attempt to halt future BART strikes in their tracks failed this week when Assembly Democrats voted down the first-term Republican's proposed legislation in a party-line committee vote.

But a Democrat-led effort to prevent BART work stoppages may return to the state legislature soon, with the Tri-Valley's State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) expected to introduce a strike-ban bill of his own.

Baker's Assembly Bill 528, introduced last February, aimed to prohibit BART employees from striking after their contract expires if the BART board maintained compensation and benefit provisions of the expired contract and if both sides agreed to a no-strike clause in that original contract. BART workers who took part in work stoppages would have faced dismissal.

The Assembly's Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee completed its deliberations on Baker's proposal Wednesday and voted it down, 5-1-1, with all five committee Democrats opposing -- one committee Republican in support and the other absent.

Baker (R-San Ramon) reflected on her bill's defeat later that day, lamenting the partisan decision and vowing to continue her push to prevent future BART work stoppages like the pair of four-day strikes in 2013 that wreaked havoc on Bay Area transportation.

"In June 2017, the current BART contract expires," said Baker, whose district includes the San Ramon Valley. "We should never be subject to BART strikes again. My colleagues on the Assembly PERS Committee disagree and voted down AB 528 on a party-line vote."

"This is just the first step in the fight to protect us from BART strikes, and I will keep pursuing solutions that will prevent the entire Bay Area from coming to a grinding halt in the face of another strike," she added.

Committee chair Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) opposed Baker's bill in a vote of support for protecting workers' rights, according to Skyler Wonnacott, communication director for Assemblyman Cooper.

"BART is currently working with its various employee groups to repair and rebuild relationships so that work stoppages do not occur in the future," Cooper said in a statement Friday. "Having the legislature intervene in that process now by eliminating a key right that workers have would not be helpful to that process."

Glazer is expected to revive the debate by introducing a bill to ban BART strikes "in the coming weeks," according to Steven Harmon, spokesman for Glazer's office. He declined to reveal additional details about what Glazer's proposal will look like.

BART work stoppages were key campaign issues for both of the Tri-Valley's state legislators.

Baker vowed to prevent future BART strikes while running for the Assembly in 2014, and she followed up on her campaign promise by making AB 528 the first bill she introduced after her election.

Glazer also strongly opposed BART strikes when competing against Baker and two other fellow Democrats in the 2014 Assembly race before finishing outside the top-two in the June 2014 primary. He again took the same strong stance en route to winning the State Senate special election last May.

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Comments

27 people like this
Posted by Long ter resident
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2016 at 6:48 am

BART workers are already some of the highest paid transit workers in the world. Many positions require nothing more than a GED and pay more than $100K per year. We should not be held hostage by these folks. One of the reasons that BART cars are ancient, tracks in disrepair, and stations filthy is because the outrageous wages being paid to BART employees doesn't allow for other expenditures. I fully support Catherine Baker and Stephen Glazer's efforts to prevent future strikes. It is not unfair to the workers. I'm certain there are plenty of people out there who would love to have BART jobs at half the salary.

One of the inherent problems with government employee or public employee unions is that the negotiators are under little pressure to negotiate in good faith. On the management side of the table you have people who are negotiating with public or government money. They don't have to answer to shareholders or consider profitability. On the other side of the table you have union negotiators who are well aware of the weaknesses on the other side of the table and can get almost anything they want.

It is my understanding that the BART labor agreement is held up as a "gold standard" by other transit unions in the U. S. as to what they all aspire to. That is a good indication of how skewed it already is in favor of the Union and BART employees.


6 people like this
Posted by J.J.
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2016 at 8:15 am

Shame on the democrats. Politics before common sense. I too support Baker and Glazier. BART should not be allowed to strike, ever!!!! They hold the people of the Bay Area hostage and hurt many hard working people when they go on strike.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Kluget
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2016 at 9:54 am

So we're all in agreement, right? Government should force "other people" to work even if their last contract has expired as long as "we" feel that those "other people" shouldn't be paid what they agreed to work for and their failure to work would inconvenience "us." Who cares about things like contracts and agreements. Because, after all, government exists to make "our" lives better, at the expense of "others," if necessary, right?

Because that's the "That government is best which governs least" approach that Republicans believe in.

At least, when it comes to "other people."


4 people like this
Posted by fed up BART rider
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2016 at 11:52 am

@ Peter: Did you read the article, Peter? Here's what's important:

Baker's Assembly Bill 528, introduced last February, aimed to prohibit BART employees from striking after their contract expires if the BART board maintained compensation and benefit provisions of the expired contract and if both sides agreed to a no-strike clause in that original contract. BART workers who took part in work stoppages would have faced dismissal.

THE WORKERS AGREED TO A NO-STRIKE CLAUSE---WHY IS IT UNFAIR FOR THE STATE LEGISLATURE TO FORCE THEM TO LIVE UP TO THEIR AGREEMENT??

The BART Board caves in every time when there is a strike. Democrats have got to start working for the people, and not special interests like BART workers. The rest of the workers in the Bay Area are the ones being held hostage by the few BART unionists.


Like this comment
Posted by Progressive
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Fed Up BART rider (did you read the article?):

Per You:

"THE WORKERS AGREED TO A NO-STRIKE CLAUSE---WHY IS IT UNFAIR FOR THE STATE LEGISLATURE TO FORCE THEM TO LIVE UP TO THEIR AGREEMENT??"

I read the article several times and did not read where the union agreed to a no-strike contract where did you find this agreement?

However, I do not believe there should be strikes if both parties can come to an agreement to fair settlements.

At the same time I want the federal US GOP Sens. and Reps. to take cuts. These people (BUMS) have not done a thing except spend money on useless investigations and trying to repeal Obamacare. They have not done anything positive for America.

What are their plans after they repeal Obamacare? Replace it? (they do not have the wherewithal to pass any decent legislation).

I see they are having more Benghazi hearings featuring former general and CIA director David Petreaus, is a GOP voter. Petreaus has stated numerous times that there was no cover-up or conspiracy. However, the beat goes on (ad nausem) and they continue to rake in their salaries for representing the GOP base instead of the American people. These guys meet the true definition of insanity or did I mean stupidity.

Throw the BUMS out.






8 people like this
Posted by TSE
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Interesting read. Regardless of your political views why would we allow the highest paid transportation group to strike when the contract prevents this from happening? Let's just focus on this. The impact to the other transit groups and public employees can not be overlooked. Who had to step up so that Bart could strike?

It's very simple, the ability to strike provides too great a negotiating position. These are employees who already enjoy pensions those of us in the private sector do not have. They are paid way above what would be seen as reasonable. I'm talking to my daughter who is a struggling college student about the types of income she can expect as a teacher, fireman, lawyer, Doctor, etc. it defies all logic that someone with a GED, who sits in a ticket booth verifying funds left on a Bart ticket carries the comparable value to the community?

A different bill might be to take funds from Bart and use those to subliment the budgets to the schools and other civil employees! Bart costs should be benchmarked against other well run systems. If their compensation is out of line then we certainly shouldn't be supplementing with more funding. Bart is not a break even business. When they are, they can bring up the issue of compensation. So while the union has leverage on this topic, the same can be said when it comes time for annual state budgets and what it costs to run Bart. We the people don't have a choice but to provide the funds to keep Bart moving. Bart is the people's system. Our tax dollars built it, yet we allow a small number of people hold it hostage. Not acceptable.

We should reduce pay in line with how Bart ranks from a total cost and reliability perspective. We should use the excess funds to set up training programs and each city should have their public works employees trained suck that at any point, Bart will run and we will no longer be held hostage.

Sorry but working in a ticket booth or driving an AUTOMATED train will never rank with that of a doctor, teacher, lawyer or other career. The pay is a simple function of manipulation that nobody has stopped.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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