Assemblymember introduces bill to ban BART strikes

AB 528 is Assemblymember Catharine Baker’s
first piece of legislation.


ASSEMBLY | 16TH DISTRICT | Freshman Assemblymember Catharine Baker’s first bill makes good on a major campaign pledge she offered last year. It may also be a potential boon to one candidate in the State Senate special election in her Contra Costa County district.

Baker introduced legislation Monday that would prohibit BART workers from striking. During her campaign last year, Baker, the first Republican elected to the Legislature from the East Bay in six years, used the series of transit strikes that roiled commuters and voters starting in 2013 to her advantage.

The bill, AB 528, closes a loophole, said Baker, and says if BART management maintains the pay and benefits detailed in the expired contract, its employee unions must not strike.

“This is a very different and unique approach to preventing future BART strikes,” said Baker. “This approach is fair to workers, riders, and the general public who rely so heavily on our mass transit system.”

Labor unions will almost assuredly balk at the legislation even though BART employees are one of the few transit labor groups with the ability to strike. The Legislative is also dominated by Democrats, many of which have strong ties to labor.

Additionally, Baker’s legislation also brings the conversation of BART and transit strikes back to the forefront in the neighboring State Senate 7th District special election.

Steve Glazer, who participated in last year’s Assembly 16th District race along with Baker and is currently in another tight campaign this spring for the State Senate, was the first candidate to highlight the growing discord among voters toward the BART strike. After Glazer, a centrist Democrat, failed to reach the top two general election, he endorsed Baker over the labor-backed Tim Sbranti.