California Republican leader proposes outlawing public transit strikes

Bay Area Rapid Transit passengers wait for a train in Oakland. A state senator has proposed barring public transit workers from striking.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO -- Employees of public transit systems in California would be barred from going on strike under legislation proposed Monday by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar).

Huff made the proposal in response to a potential third strike by disgruntled workers for the Bay Area Rapid Transit district in the San Francisco area.

The senator outlined his legislation in an interview with Ronn Owens on KGO radio in San Francisco.

“If we’re going to make the people of California reliant on public transit systems, then we also have an obligation to make sure those systems can be relied on,” Huff said in a statement. “Shutting down public transit is neither safe nor fair.”


He noted that police officers and firefighters are prohibited from striking because they provide an important public service and he said public transit is also vital.

Under legislation amended recently by Huff, a public transit employee who violates the no-strike law would be subject to removal or other disciplinary action by the agency.

If it was determined that an employee broke the no-strike law, twice the daily rate of pay wouldl be deducted from an employee’s compensation for each day an employee breaks the law, the legislation says.

The proposal was called a “foolish piece of legislation,” by Larry Hanley, international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union.

“Politicians are making hay attacking the union and workers,” he said, without holding accountable the people who manage the system.


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