State Assemblywoman Catherine B. Baker, R-San Ramon, announced Tuesday a bill to end BART workers' legal right to strike, which some unions are calling a roadblock to repairing relationships with BART management.
BART workers currently have a no-strike clause in their contracts, but may legally strike when their contracts expire. Baker argued that this a “loophole” that needs to end.
In 2013, two BART strikes halted commutes across the Bay Area. Two workers also lost their lives on the tracks after they were struck by a train that was running without passengers and used to train replacement workers.
This is a “unique approach to preventing future BART strikes,” Baker said in a statement.
Two of BART's largest unions said their focus should be on repairing highly fractured relationships with BART management in time for the June 2017 contract negotiations.
“This is opening old wounds, the workers are trying to get along with the district,” Pete Castelli, executive director of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, told The San Francisco Examiner.
Chris Finn, head of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, said relationships with the district have improved.
In the wake of an independent report on its labor relations, BART hired a new assistant general manager of employee relations, and made public commitments to address 63 recommendations to fix labor relations.
Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman said the strike cost the Bay Area $73 million per day in lost worker productivity.
BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the board will vote to take positions on specific bills in June.