Bill That Would Have Banned Transit Strikes Killed in Committee

January 14, 2014 22:47 pm · 42 comments

A bill that would have banned strikes by public transit employees, such as BART workers who walked off the job twice last year, has been killed by a state Senate committee.

The Senate Public Employees and Retirement Committee rejected the bill by Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, in a party line vote on Monday, with the three Democrats on the committee voting against it and the two Republicans on the panel voting for it.

Two Bay Area Democrats were among those who voted against the bill: Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco and Sen. Jim Beall of San Jose.

Huff said he introduced the bill in the wake of the short strikes by BART workers in July and October, which caused traffic jams for Bay Area commuters.

Huff said in a statement, “Last year, Californians witnessed the Bay Area come to a screeching halt not once, but twice, as leaders of the BART employee union called strikes and BART trains went dark.”

He said, “Hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents could not get to work, go to school, see the doctor, or visit with family and friends and it cost the region $73 million each day.”

Huff said, “As a legislature, we have failed to make public transit reliable. That’s a major failure. Californians deserve a government that works for everyone but they were let down.”

However, Beall said Huff’s bill “was not solution-oriented.”

Beall said, “It offered nothing to resolve the underlying bargaining issues that separate employees and management or to keep both sides at the table, such as binding arbitration.”

Yee couldn’t be reached for comment. Huff’s spokesman, Bill Bird, said the bill’s fate may have been sealed when the Senate’s Rules Committee, which is controlled by Democrats who have a strong majority in the Senate, assigned it to the Public Employees and Retirement Committee instead of the Transportation Committee.

Huff believed his bill should have been heard by the Senate Transportation Committee because it involves a transportation issue, Bird said.

Huff knew his bill faced tough odds in the Senate but he introduced it because he thought “it was the right thing to do,” Bird said.

The committee’s vote means that Huff’s bill is “dead” but Huff or another senator could still re-introduce similar legislation before the late February deadline for introducing new bills, Bird said.

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WCGator January 14, 2014 at 11:18 PM

Thank you, Democrats.

Dorothy January 14, 2014 at 11:20 PM

Seldom agree with Republicans but I do with this one and on this issue.

All public transportation needs to be considered as much as part of the public good and health as police and firemen.

There is also that fact that everyone wants more and more people to depend on public transportation. But if the public can’t depend on that transportation, what good is it?

Instead of more hype and greed, we need more dependability.

common sense January 15, 2014 at 1:53 AM

How can we get our representatives to understand we just want common sense to rule. The majority wants no more BART strikes – even though they have taken contributions from the Unions they need to meet with them let them know they blew it – they didn’t sell their case. The representative they had on TV were a joke and were typical of the standard union stereotypes the conservatives complain about. They need to tell them to suck it up and realize we can’t allow strikes on such an important transportation system – just like they don’t allow them on the East coast. There are other ways to ensure their voices are heard. It is not like anyone is being taken advantage of that works for BART. If anything, to save money, they need to contract with local police to patrol the stations and greatly decrease the poorly trained BART Police staff.

Anon January 15, 2014 at 4:34 AM

This news is great timing for those who have forgotten about the democrats voting record. And Yee is the guy who wants to ban all firearms.

Always Right January 15, 2014 at 5:39 AM

Yea Dorothy!

You and many others are waking up to the fact that total control by one political party – the Democrat party – yields bad outcomes.

Extremists run the show in Sacramento. Monopoly government unions, anti-growth, anti-job environmentalists, the lgbt lobby ( now forcing schools to allow boys in girls bathrooms), etc. etc.

There is only one thing worse than divided, squabbling, two party government. That is dictatorial single-party rule.

Killjoy January 15, 2014 at 6:27 AM

Gee. The Democrats shot it down. What a surprise. /sarcasm

Anonymous January 15, 2014 at 6:40 AM


. January 15, 2014 at 6:41 AM

@common sense….

You gotta be kidding! You think the politicians would go along with “common sense”? That would be the death of their lifetime in office!

Beall comes up with some lame excuse to support his vote and Yee “couldn’t be reached for comment.” What a surprise.

Time to remove these entrenched idiot politicians!

The Mamba January 15, 2014 at 7:02 AM

This is exactly why the state legislature in California is a goddamn joke. You have the overwhelming approval of the citizens of this state to ban BART strikes and then they go ahead and do this. How did our local representatives vote? I’m asking you, Susan Bonilla and Mark DeSaulnier.

Walnut Creek Resident January 15, 2014 at 8:08 AM

I am a Democrat and I am mad as hell! This should be against the law and I agree with The Mamba #9. This is all political and I think their is a conflict of interest that we cannot see as usual. I also think this has nothing to do with Democrat and Republican. I think there is something rotten in Denmark!!! This is so wrong.

NoMoreFreeRide January 15, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Thank you, Democrats. Is anyone really surprised when the state is ran by them? When is the last time a politician did something for you and not the unions or corporations that pad their pockets? Wake-up people we need to take back or country from being corrupted by money. It’s only going to get worse!

@9 January 15, 2014 at 8:24 AM

From reading the article here, Bonilla and DeSaulnier did not vote on it. It did not make it out of committee and it was probably in the wrong committee for that very reason. It was in the Senate Public Employees and Retirement Committee and probably should have been in the Transportation Committee. This is kind of like Harry Reid not letting the US Senate vote on things he doesn’t want them to. This is “True” representation of the people of CA by our “elected” officials.

Politico Conspiracy Theorist January 15, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Time to vote for the party that is listening to the general public instead of their ole boy/girl network. Voting all Republican in the next election.

Rollo Tomasi January 15, 2014 at 8:29 AM

@Walnut Creek Resident:

“…in a party line vote on Monday, with the three Democrats on the committee voting against it and the two Republicans on the panel voting for it.”

You’re wrong. It has everything to do with Democrat/Republican. Your elected representatives blew it. Again.

bob January 15, 2014 at 8:47 AM

This is a perfect time to use the initiative process. This is exactly why we have the process. How hard could it be to get the signatures required? All we have to do is ask the 200K plus individuals taking more than one trip per day.

Don P - N. Concord January 15, 2014 at 9:34 AM

We the people get fleeced once again by the people we pay to represent us.

Larry January 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

This was a very slick move by Senate President Darrell Steinberg, assigning this bill to a Rules Committee (where he is chair) subcommittee instead of the Transportation Committee which is ruled by Mark DeSaulnier. Thus allowing Mark to bypass having to take a stand on this issue.

Dudos to Steinberg on his high slime level!

mike mac January 15, 2014 at 9:53 AM

We know where the Demorats feed. Certainly these guys do not serve the public interest.

RANDOM TASK January 15, 2014 at 10:10 AM

really no surprise the dems have this state under siege by backing the thug unions as they filter billions of dollars to run their elections campaigns …since we all know the unions are in bed with the dems …..we shall be subject to strikes and back door policies to further fleece the state …as the so called public officials who are supposed to do the job to further the states economy and education as well as safety hide behind their own greed and pat their own backs after a 40 year stint where the state has declined to where safety schools and economy are in the toilet …….but business as usual since the lemmings get to ban coffee and plastic bags and feel good that our money is being wasted on illegals that get more free health care ,money, housing, and schooling than the rest who actually come to this country legally or are all ready here…..but of course the latter do not vote dem so they have to buy their votes with our money pandering to the illegals and section 8 to vote dem or lose their free ride……..the dems have pushed aside hard work and diligence for do it our way and live for free under the poverty line as they would like you to do ..under their thumb and guidance as they fleece the hard working and diligent to further their own needs

Shelly January 15, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Not all registered Dems are the same. I for one am really pissed off about this lack of support by our representatives on THIS very important issue. This is rediculous. If the Republicans can fix this, they should be allowed to. Many of us do cross part lines when we prefer the choices over there.

Mimi (original) January 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM

What is wrong with our politicians? Oh, sorry, that’s a bigger discussion. But really – BART SHOULD BE BANNED FROM STRIKING!!

. January 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM


You got that right! That way, DeSaunier doesn’t have to explain himself to the voters when he runs for Miller’s old seat.

OInce again, the party line vote holds out. The politicians no longer represent the people – only their donors.

Lying sacks of $hit……

ML January 15, 2014 at 11:40 AM

You dems need to wake up and start voting Republican. All democrat politicians care about is the money they get from unions. Republicans take care of the interests of the corporations. When corporations make money, so do us hard working people.

AWoman January 15, 2014 at 12:21 PM

So much for the public voice-we have to suffer while public employees plan strikes.

Jim January 15, 2014 at 3:01 PM

So how does this help “the people”…NOPE as usual…unions got their say…just so you know the guy who’s running for Miller’s seat and head of transportation committee in California just “flipped the whole Bat Area off”…and he want your vote…sad

mika January 15, 2014 at 4:44 PM


Happy Camper January 15, 2014 at 7:45 PM

@ all the previous posters, You all(riders or not) cannot and will not prevent our unions from flexing the power we have. We own you so get over it. Post all the anti union propaganda you like, It won’t make a difference. Shut up and ride……LOL!!!

huh? January 15, 2014 at 8:05 PM

we commuters in the Bay Area are so screwed….we really need to vote in people that want to help the general public…maybe someone will try to put together an initiative ,that a judge cant stop, on the voting ballot…

Ven Xeter January 15, 2014 at 8:22 PM

Way to go California Dems. Big surprise you would side with common street thugs over the tax paying public,

Rollo Tomasi January 15, 2014 at 10:36 PM

There are a couple of far left serial posters on the politics thread that are conspicuous in their absence here. I wonder why that is?

Concord Dad January 16, 2014 at 3:46 AM

I love watching all you Fox News watching idiots!! Down with the middle class! Keep drinking the rich kool aid folks! How’s this trickle down economics working so far? Remember that’s the big idea of the republicans. It’s working exactly how they planned. Rich getting richer and middle class fighting each other for crumbs! Fools!

me January 16, 2014 at 7:30 AM

@Concord Dad


@ Concord Dad January 16, 2014 at 7:48 AM

You do realize that Democrats run the Federal and California state governments right? I don’t believe it’s they have adopted Reagonomics or tax cuts so I’m at a loss to understand what you’re blithering about…

. January 16, 2014 at 7:50 AM


As opposed to all of you MSNBC idiots? Notice I didn’t say “MSNBC news watching idiots’…. They don’t supply news – only “entertainment”.

Keep voting for the tax and spend idiot liberals that have been in office for so many years and now have a stranglehold in CA.

Speaking of “drinking the kool-aid.”

huh? January 16, 2014 at 9:45 AM

@32 DAD
read ##34 & #35 again and let it sink in….
I believe you are going around..with your head on backwards….face the truth…please…….

Laura Zah January 16, 2014 at 9:56 AM

@ Concord Dad & “Me”

Trickle Down Economics

An economic idea which states that decreasing marginal and capital gains tax rates – especially for corporations, investors and entrepreneurs – can stimulate production in the overall economy. According to trickle-down theory proponents, this stimulus leads to economic growth and wealth creation that benefits everyone, not just those who pay the lower tax rates.

This has NOT been happening under Democratic rule (in case you haven’t noticed).

RIII January 16, 2014 at 10:02 AM

It appears that our lawmakers support the organizations that fund their campaigns for public office, the unions. They will never stand up to those who put them into their offices. The people, the everyday taxpayers fund these people working for the public and the legislature take their orders from those representing these public employees. When our Fire and Police start going on strike the people may change their minds but as long as it’s just public employees at large, transportation workers, teachers who go on strike, our legislature will never make public transportation a non-strike employer.

Concord Dad January 16, 2014 at 4:01 PM

You are right people. Unions do nothing for anyone anymore. Thats why these huge corporations are spending millions every year to get rid of them so that they can pay their employees better and gig them better benefits.

@ Concord Dad January 16, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Don’t get so butt sore little buddy. Unions have their place but public unions are and always will be suspect especially when they can strike. Unlike when say Ford Motor Company goes on strike and you can simply purchase a product from a competitor like GMC – basic supply side economics but what do you do when there is a government monopoly like public transportation? There is no competitor to replace the product hence the push to prevent public transportation from striking just like police and fire. You think you’re Billy Bullet Proof but what happens if people stop riding the trains? Where do you think you’re going to find an unskilled job that pays like BART?

. January 16, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Concord dad appears to be another DeSaulnier intern trying to whip up support for his run on miller’s seat……..btw, that sounds kinda gross.

Unions have no business being a part of a govt or public agency.

Laura Zah January 16, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Probably one of Phantom’s star students.

Concord Dad January 18, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Actually I can’t stand DeSaulnier. I just can’t keep watching every good paying job with good benefits going away. My Wife is a teacher and their union went to the BART unions and begged them to stay strong because it gives them hope of getting something better.

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