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Analysis Reveals Transit Unions Giving Millions To Calif. Lawmakers

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Buttons are displayed during a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) worker SEIU Local 1021 strike authorization vote on June 25, 2013 in Oakland. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Buttons are displayed during a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) worker SEIU Local 1021 strike authorization vote on June 25, 2013 in Oakland. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — With BART and AC Transit workers possibly going on strike, a new analysis shows how much money unions representing transit workers donate to state lawmakers.

Labor is determined to keep Sacramento from prohibiting transit strikes, since there has been a push mostly from Republicans to outlaw strikes by transit workers.

According to a review by Maplight.org, almost $3 million was contributed by the Amalgamated Transit Union and Service Employees International Union to almost exclusively Democratic members of the Assembly and State Senate over the last three years.

“They are giving a lot of money, but it’s not unusual,” Pamela Behrsin of Maplight said, adding that it doesn’t surprise her. “There’s just a lot of money in politics. When unions and corporations are paying for politicians to get into power and stay into power, it’s clear legislators are working for two masters; the donor and the voter.”

Behrsin said when a politician is elected, it is clear who has the upper hand.

Steve Glazer, a longtime aide to Gov. Jerry Brown, is running for an Assembly seat in the East Bay. He supports a ban on transit strikes and is a rare Democrat without a penny in contributions from labor, who are instead backing a rival.

“[I] don’t like to point the finger at any one legislator or anyone union,” Behrsin said. “It’s sort of the way the system is played.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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