20,000 petition signatures favor transit-strike ban

An East Bay Assembly candidate who’s been crusading for a legislative ban on transit strikes says he’ll deliver 20,000 petition signatures to an influential lawmaker’s office Friday.

Steve Glazer“Back to back, the petitions are larger than a 10-car BART train,” said Steve Glazer, who is an Orinda councilman, political adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, and Democratic candidate in the 16th Assembly District.

Glazer and supporters intend to walk Friday from the Pleasant Hill BART station to the district office of state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Chairman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, to deliver the petitions.

During the BART strike earlier this month, DeSaulnier had said that what Glazer is doing “is popular, but the reality is more complex than that.” The senator said he’s interested in an idea advanced by Stanford Law Professor Emeritus William Gould IV — who chaired the National Labor Relations Board in the Clinton administration — to enact a law providing for arbitration and prohibiting strikes in public-transit disputes. “But I’m not going to do it if it has no chance of success, if both sides are against it,” he said.

A few days later, when BART and its unions settled their negotiations and ended the strike, DeSaulnier issued a statement saying his committee “is investigating how other metropolitan areas around the nation avoid this kind of situation. After conducting the investigation, the committee will pursue every possible remedy to ensure this never happens again.”

Glazer said Thursday that “the complexity is kind of a smokescreen for those who don’t want to take action… Bans such as this are done in many places in the United States successfully, so there are plenty of templates to examine.”

Glazer said that besides the petition signatures, more than 1,300 people have used his website to send individualized emails of support for such legislation to DeSaulnier.

“By my count he has nine BART stations in his district, he probably has the most riders on BART of any legislator… so we’re certainly looking for his leadership and courage and backbone,” he said.

Among other 16th Assembly District candidates, Republican Catharine Baker, a Dublin attorney, voiced support this month for a Republican Senate bill that would force BART employees – not all transit employees – to honor the no-strike clause in their contract even after that contract expires. Senate Republicans since have said they intend to introduce a broader strike-ban bill covering all transit workers.

Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, another Democrat in the 16th District race, said Glazer and Baker are engaging in “political gamesmanship” when neither was privy to the BART negotiations. The third Democrat in the race, Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, has declined to comment on the matter.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Don’t let’s be beastly to the unions. We need their precious votes and dough each fall–Dem party song

  • Marga

    Didn’t BART refused to send the contract to binding arbitration this time?

  • thomas

    Glazer is great and has my vote all the way. DeSaulnier is the one making it into a “more complex” issue. Why do DC, NY, Chicago, SF, and nearly all other somewhat respectable transit cities protect their riders but he and the rest of the state can’t? He and everyone else is a hypocrite to be preaching less driving while at the same time not ensuring riders have a means to get to work, school, the doctors, &c. PROTECT THE RIDERS!

  • JohnW

    No Strike/binding arbitration sounds good on the surface. It would end the strikes and all the chaos that goes with them. That’s a good thing. But it would most likely yield pro-union results through the arbitration process. Unions would get most of what they want without having to go to the trouble of striking. It’s hard to envision an arbitrator imposing serious work rule changes or get-tough terms on pension and health insurance contributions.

    What might work would be to have binding arbitration impose a cap on total labor cost for the new contract and then use negotiations and a mediator to work out the mix of work rules, salary and benefits that stay within the cap. If no agreement is reached by deadline, management could impose contract terms consistent with the cap. No strike.

  • Elwood

    DeSaulnier is dancing as fast as he can to try to please his public employee union masters.

  • Richard Kaye

    I agree with Elwood. I don’t trust DeSaulnier, who used to brag about how much he loved labor unions when he headed the Senator Labor committee. I have vivid memories of DeSaulnier literally standing behind union representatives as they made their demands during the 2009 BART labor dispute. DeSaulnier then was running for Congress and was dancing to public employee unions’ tune in order to curry favor with them. So keep your eyes on DeSaulnier, who is bought and paid for by public employee unions. If he proposes “no strikes” legislation for BART, he likely will bias it in favor of BART unions. DeSaulnier probably would require binding arbitration and design it in such manner that the arbitrators will require massive fare increases in order to satiate BART unions’ endless greed. And why is everyone giving Assembly candidate Tim Sbranti a “free pass” on the BART strike controversy? The SEIU thanked Sbranti twice for helping to “resolve” the BART strike at the press conference ending the strike a couple of weeks ago (he has so crucial that the SEIU leaders even butchered his name!). I found it odd that a Dublin city council member was inserting himself into labor negotiations. So why is Sbranti saying “no comment” to the media about the BART strikes when the striking unions keep thanking him for his “crucial” help? Was Sbranti one of the politicians who was pressuring BART directors and BART management to cave into unions’ extortion demands? Everyone ought to read this SF Chronicle item about the pressure that politicians like Sbranti have been applying to BART directors:


    If DeSaulnier and Sbranti approve of such slimy hardball tactics on behalf of special interests (public employee unions), then both need to be ousted from public office.