As BART's unions agreed to postpone a scheduled strike against the transit system, one California lawmaker is suggesting legislation that would keep the transit workers from ever striking again.
Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Walnut Creek) is chairman of the Transportation and Housing Committee. DeSaulnier said in a radio interview on Friday that the ongoing dispute between management and labor "doesn't seem to be working for anyone, most importantly, for the commuters."
"While I am looking into legislation that could prevent future strikes, it should not distract from the need for BART and labor to remain engaged in negotiations," DeSaulnier said in a statement released on Friday. "I have been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of organized labor. The intent of any legislation will not be to simply stop strikes, but to ensure we produce equitable outcomes for workers and our commuters during future negotiations."
He urged BART and labor leaders "to continue to engage in serious negotiations."
New York and Washington both ban strikes by transit workers, as does Muni in San Francisco.
BART's unions agreed Sunday night to postpone a strike for at least seven days at the request of Gov. Jerry Brown who wants an investigation of issues affecting the labor dispute. Union leaders also expressed frustration at what they said is BART's management team's refusal to budge on any of the unions' demands.
The inquiry was called because Brown said a strike would "significantly disrupt public transportation services" and "endanger the public's health, safety and welfare." The board is required to report back on the contract talks within seven days, with strikes and lockouts prohibited during the investigation.