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CA Senate Bill 423, if passed, will prevent the BART strike

Original post made by Joe on Oct 2, 2013

There is a provision in the contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) that prevents workers from striking in the event of a labor dispute. The BART local union that is threatening to strike is part of the ATU.

However, there's a loophole that the union is using. The provision in the contract applies to state agencies. BART is a local agency, so its unions are exempt from the no-strike clause in the contract.

There is only one other major transportation agency in the entire country that has a loophole like this.

CA Senate Bill 423 has been introduced that would close the loophole. It needs support of the Governor and a simple majority of legislators to pass. The bill does not prevent negotiations, nor does it bias one side against the other. It just prevents the workers from going on strike, and using the treat of a strike as a negotiating tactic.

Time to write to the Governor and your state senator and assemblyperson. You can visit the City of Pleasanton website for details on how to contact these representatives.

Comments (36)

Posted by Mary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm

CA Senate Bill 423 is basically asking the state to enforce a contract that has expired. The no-strike clause that it references is part of a contract that expired right as the strike in July started. Additionally, the law would strip BART workers of their right to strike--which is a right guaranteed under the California Constitution.

Given its unlawfulness and poorly researched foundation, it sounds just like a bunch of opportunistic politicians trying to score points with a public that's exhausted from months of this BART labor dispute.

Trust me when I say I don't want to see a BART strike, but what I really don't want to see is people's right's being taken away. It seems to me that there's a simple solution here: put pressure on both the unions and BART to reach an agreement. Why not have our elected officials--Governor and all--sit in on negotiations and make sure that both parties are getting it done?

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 3, 2013 at 4:41 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

The contract is still in force, otherwise how would pay and all other areas of the employment agreement remain in place.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2013 at 8:42 am

Specifically, the ATU contract requires union workers to continue working after contract expiration, even when there is a labor dispute. The premise is that public transit is important enough to the general well-being of the region that the workers should not be able to bring it to a halt because of a dispute. Again, this has been agreed to by the ATU, and it's just because BART is a local agency that BART unions are exempt. SB 423 closes the loophole that the other transit unions do not have.

I applaud the State legislators that are trying to address the overall problem. As of this morning (Thursday morning), BART and its unions are still $100 million apart. They were $112 million apart, but yesterday, the union lowered their wage increase demands by $12 million over the three years.

Posted by Helen, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Oct 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

What do you wanna bet Mary doesn't rely on BART to get her to work. Give you good oods on that!!

"Strip BART workers of the RIGHT TO STRIKE"!!!!??????? How about we strip them of the right to work, the silly, greedy clowns.

If our legislators do not stop this foolish union and it foolish, manic behavior, let's strip of legislators of their right of a job representing us..the majority of us, unlike Mary, who want to see this union kicked to the wall.

Posted by Val, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Oct 3, 2013 at 10:21 am

Yes, kick 'em to the wall, strip 'em of their rights, because they're foolish manic unions. And how can a contract expire and yet still not be in force? Beats me! But somehow it must be true. But I'm only inquiring. This all makes the Republicans holding the public hostage on ACA seem like a mere drop in the bucket. This is worse because, hey, we're dealing with union manics and fools. When unions inconvenience the public, they're asking to be kicked to the wall. When politicians hold the public hostage, it's because they are upholding principles. Like freedom to die on my own, without insurance, but at public expense. Besides, I don't use the parks, my kids don't depend on food stamps, but I DO RIDE BART!!!

Posted by Helen, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Oct 3, 2013 at 10:46 am

Val, "inconvenience the public" is going to be the understatement of the year, for sure

Have to agree with you about the irrationality of the federal shutdown. No principles being upheld there, except their egos.

I would love to let you go ahead and "die on your own, without insurance", but unfortunately humanity prevents us from letting you do that. We still have to pay for you and your ilk.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2013 at 11:01 am

The idea of public employees being prohibited from striking is not new. When a strike would damage or injure the public, strikes are prohibited by contract. Police and firefighters are examples. Yes they are represented by unions but no, they cannot strike.

The largest public employee union, the American Federation of Government Employees, themselves drafted a contract which includes the ability to enter into collective bargaining, but which also prevents them from striking. The idea is that collective bargaining is in the public interest, but so is the work that is provided by the members.

Posted by Helen, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Oct 3, 2013 at 11:11 am

Joe, you are my HERO
You summed it up beautifully, and correctly

Posted by Valley Trails Guy, a resident of Valley Trails
on Oct 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Joe: Nicely stated. This isn't anti-union. It is common sense that tax payer subsidized PUBLIC services not be help hostage. Our tax dollars pay for BART, why are WE the bargaining chip when workers and management can't find common ground?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 3, 2013 at 7:57 pm

In my humble there is going to be a STRIKE! tee hee...

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 4, 2013 at 10:10 am

Nobody is being held hostage. Negotiations are proceeding. Everybody will just have to wait 'n see what happens.

In the meantime, eat a pot of beans!


The Wisdom of Cholo

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm

I believe that there will be a BART strike and I plan to ride back 'n forth taping the responses of BART riders.

Most if not all of the riders will want to the various issues resolved asap. However, I don't believe that the majority of riders will necessarily disapprove of the strike. Many of the riders also belong to unions and will sympathize with the union. Union members know how crucial sticking together can be. They will not collapse.

Most members of unions are loyal members and will support other unions.


Posted by Jjdy, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Oct 12, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Policemen and firemen are not allowed to strike because if they did the public would be injured. The public (not to mention the economy) would also be injured if a BART strike is allowed. The governor should get busy and round up enough votes so that Bill 423 passes -- of course he should have done that ages ago but hopefully it's not too late. . . .

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 13, 2013 at 9:29 am

Criminals work their magic 24/7, 365 days a year. Their illegal behavior puts others at risk whether for no sane reason.

Nobody is completely safe because criminals are determined to harm innocent others. For some criminals, it's enuf to harm you if they hear a rumor that it's gonna rain someday.

Thanks to Jjdy, I'm shaking in my boots!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

Correction: 1st line, drop the word "whether"

Posted by Veronica Miller, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2013 at 10:02 am

My father once taught me that no law or prohibition is enough to stop a work stoppage. Strikes are always a measure of last resort. If conditions are bad, workers will strike. They're not supposed to? Doesn't matter. There are mouths to feed, injustices to correct.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 13, 2013 at 10:03 am

Helen is Henny Penny and she's grown bitter over the past 8 decades. She's way ready to harm others with her bitter fussbudget self...tee hee...

Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I agree with the statement above that how can they say they cannot strike because their contract which had that provision expired, but at the same time they get the same wage and benefits of the last contract.

If this clause is not in force I guess we can consider the workers no longer have any contract and thus a new contract can be put in place and we can hire new workers.

Posted by Veronica Miller, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Dear local,
What do you mean by "we"? Do you have fleas?

Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 13, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Guess you do not understand representative democracy. Since the government is supposed to be "we" and not "them", "we" refers to the users of this governmental run service that is supported by our tax dollars.

The way it should be working is the workers report to management. Management reports to the board. The board reports to the residents/taxpayers/voters. The union believes this should be the other way around.

Posted by Veronica Miller, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I see. Everybody belongs accept those dirty workers who have the hubris to demand a raise after going without for several years. You can itch all you want to, local, I doubt you'll rid yourself of those fleas.

Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm

When people are way overpaid and have a contract the only way to get their salaries and benefits back to market rate is to stop the raises until the current salaries and benefits catch up to the market rate.

The gravy train needs to stop. Free pensions, no more. Health care at $92/family, no more. Working less than 40 hours is considered full time, no more. Calling in sick or taking a vacation day and then getting paid overtime later that week, no more.

Posted by Veronica Miller, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm

My, what venom. Backed by reference to mythological (i.e., not grounded in fact) "market rates" for public sector workers. (And as if 'local' would support the workers were their wages below the mythological standard offered by "market rates." Nope, just spew after spew of venom being vomited forth. Nietzsche was the first to talk about resentment as an unhealthy human phenomenon. When in its throes, folks like 'local' act as if they've been eating too much sauerkraut all their lives. Perhaps try some fruit in your diet?

Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 13, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Sorry that you cannot understand the common feelings in the area, including every newspaper editorial I have seen. No venom. Just compare what bart workers make vs. other transit workers and you understand 'market rate'. Obviously you have never worked in the private sector where they do salary surveys. I guess when somebody will not give you exactly what you want, you feel they are mean and full of venom. Life of the 'entitled'...

Posted by Veronica Miller, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm

I accept your apology, 'local'.

Most organized workers realize that 'market rate' is a fiction fobbed upon them by owners/management in order to keep things the same - all the exploitation, disparity of wealth, unsafe and unhealthy work conditions.

'Market rate' (average wages) changes once organized workers succeed in putting enough pressure on owners/management to provide workers what they are worth. Just wait and see, 'local'. Once BART workers succeed in earning a higher wage, your fictive 'market rate' will show a bump upward. As it should. And other workers will be appreciative of the BART workers who had the courage to assert themselves.

Read some labor history, get a clue. Seriously. Try some blueberries for breakfast instead of the pickled beets you seem to prefer.

Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Thanks for your post as it shows how much out of reality you really are. The more you write, the more my argument is reinforced. Keep it up!

Posted by Veronica Miller, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Blueberries, 'local'. They may not help you get out of this bad place you're in where you have no effective counter argument to muster, but tomorrow might go better for you without your pickled eggs and beets.

That said, in all seriousness, we all do appreciate the humor of your churlish harangues, with no real support, and your constant shamefaced losses in the face of better arguments that even a 7th grader might produce. Your losses, and how you lose them so consistently and thoroughly, is educational for all readers.

Posted by Anti-union, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2013 at 11:21 am

Aww, poor Veronica. I find it very difficult to sympathize that you haven't "had a raise in several years". I have a professional, degreed man in my family, who has had two long and painful layoffs since this nightmare started. One was the company went bankrupt!!, the other a temp 'contract' job with military supplier, that cut all their 'contract' people in one day recently. AND, ms veronica, temp contract jobs have NO benefits, like NO opportunity to PAY a paltry $92. mo. to get any medical.
veronica, YOU have NO case on any basis in any category!! YOU are DAMN lucky to have ANY job at all. Too bad you don't keep up on the news in the REAL world to know the job Unemployment reality the rest of us are living with. The ignorance and arrogance in your demands is really disgusting. We're tired of it. Have the decency (but no appreciation) to show up, and perform your tasks for which you are very well paid, with never a worry about LOSING your job...LIKE THE REST OF US !

Posted by Anti-union, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2013 at 11:37 am

BEWARE. this hasty bill can make things worse. It might prevent strikes, but, just like all PUBLIC jobs, look to city, county & state unions to see, they will still be 'bought off' with extreme money paid by taxpayers.
This bill will ease inconvenience of riders, but still be a burden to taxpayers, and out of line salary & benefits,compared to the real world.

BEWARE, if this 'inconvenience' is eliminated, we'll NEVER get a chance to deal with the EXCESSES that ALREADY exist !! Salaries and benefits must be brought in line with the real world of taxpayers !!!! STOP this Band-Aid, write a REAL FIX, or initiative. Keep all eyes on Sacto, so we'll can exercise OUR options! Don't let Brown & legis pull this con of a Band-Aid.

Posted by Judy Mutch, a resident of Valley Trails
on Oct 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Let me see if I have this right.... Anti-union's 'man' can't hold onto a job, so everyone else should accept what peanuts are tossed their way. Don't think I can go along with that reasoning.

As for Anti-union's 'man', he should try the fast-food industry. One usually starts at minimum wage, but then when one's skill level and inability to hold onto a job are factored in, perhaps that's what Anti-union's 'man' deserves. Market rate.

Posted by right, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Judy, I hope your BART co-workers will be as successful trying to match their current pay and benefits when they are applying for fast food positions. They may be barely qualified with their GED's and prior worker experience pushing buttons and watching live meat going down the assembly line. Judy, I've got your peanuts right here........

Posted by Judy Mutch, a resident of Valley Trails
on Oct 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm

If someone would like to translate 'Right's' message into something that is coherent and meaningful, I'd appreciate it.

Posted by daveg, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 16, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Judy, its pretty you think with a GED and no skills other than knowing how to mumble station names and push a few buttons while averaging about four hours of work in a typical shift, that one could pull down the wages and benefit packages that the BART employees currently have (not even taking into consideration the current unrealistic demands for more)?
Your welcome!

Posted by Anti-union, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Hey Mooch, Mutch whatever, you more than proved your ignorance. I was so right about the ignorance and arrogance. Obviously, you don't know the meaning of and skills so far beyond your robotic button-pushing. right and dave sure have you pegged. It is a crime that we a FORCED thru taxation, to pay unskilled like you such extortion pay and benefits.

Posted by Veronica Miller, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Blueberries, not changing your name every hour on the hour. The venom is unmistakable, as well as the identity behind it. Do you have anything to say beyond that you don't like unions? It wears old pretty quickly; attributing different names to the rehashed, childish spurts of venom offers no improvement.

@Judy Mutch ... got a good chuckle from your quip about market rate.

Posted by Daveg, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 17, 2013 at 8:56 am

Daveg is a registered user.

For those that are foolishly supporting the simply out of control demands of the BART unions, the following column would hopefully help one to see the real picture. However someone will somehow try to argue that a guaranteed pay increase of 12 percent over four years, monthly health insurance payments limited to $132 and pension contributions beginning at 1 percent and gradually rising to 4 percent (compare that to those who participate in Social Security and cough up 6 percent of every paycheck)is just not enough. The downside for all of us is that all of us that are paying 6 percent into Social Security are the ones stuck paying public employees for a better retirement plan.
Legislation that prevents strikes or the threat of strikes by public transit system seems to be a step in the right direction.

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