SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Lawmakers want to prevent another BART strike by removing the ability of workers to walk off the job, saying they’re endangering public safety.

An estimated 400,000 commuters were stuck finding another way around the Bay Area on Friday after Bay Area Rapid Transit workers went on strike.

State law says a threatened strike would be unlawful, because it “creates a substantial and imminent threat to public health and safety.”

It’s the reason that police and firefighters are not allowed to strike. But because BART is not a state agency, the union does not have to follow this law, even though state Republicans argue there is a clear threat to public health and safety.

“If you have traffic that locks down the streets, police and fire may not be able to respond in time,” said Peter DeMarco, a spokesman for state Sen. Bob Huff. “You also have the elderly, the handicapped who rely on BART just to get to their doctor’s appointments.”

The current BART union contract even has a stipulation keeping workers from walking off the job, but that’s not stopping the picketing.

In a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, the state’s GOP leaders are making the push for a law to call a special session to craft legislation making BART strikes illegal.

Only the Mass Transit Authority in Los Angeles operates under a similar deal as BART. Every other bus and train system in the state is not allowed to strike. If they do, they can be fired.


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