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East Bay Lawmakers Join Push To Ban Transit Strikes After BART Walkout

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Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains sit idle at a BART maintenance facility. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains sit idle at a BART maintenance facility. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) — A local city councilman and state assembly candidate who launched a petition to ban public transit workers from walking off the job was joined Tuesday by other local elected leaders who also said they would support a ban.

Orinda City Councilman Steve Glazer, a longtime adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, was flanked by half a dozen other elected leaders from Contra Costa cities at the Walnut Creek BART station at an afternoon conference to continue his campaign for a transit strike ban.

“The current strike may be over but this issue is not over,” Glazer said, as a handful of BART riders trickled out of the fare gates less than eight hours after a four-day BART strike ended and BART service resumed.

“We wanted a long-term solution so these debilitating strikes don’t happen again,” Glazer said.

The councilman launched an online petition a month ago in favor of prohibiting transit strikes.

While he would not disclose the number of signatures amassed so far Glazer said that since Friday 10,000 more people signed their names to the petition.

Joining Glazer at the BART station Tuesday afternoon to help spread the word about a potential ban were Brentwood Mayor Robert Taylor, Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick, Lafayette Vice Mayor Don Tatzin, Moraga Mayor Dave Trotter, Orinda Vice Mayor Sue Severson and Walnut Creek Councilman Bob Simmons.

Local leaders cited the toll the latest BART strike took on their constituents and on the entire Bay Area economy.

“Clearly the people who are harmed the most by this are the riders and the taxpayers,” Tatzin said.

“It’s time to start looking at other ways to negotiate fair wages for employees and reliable service for the rest of us,” he said.

One BART rider at the station Tuesday afternoon, a Walnut Creek resident named Jeanne, who declined to give her last name, noted that strikes are banned by other major transit agencies in New York, Chicago and even San Francisco but that doesn’t appear to keep the workers from negotiating their contracts.

A daily BART rider, Jeanne said the latest strike was a considerable inconvenience, however she added, “I work for a place where I can telecommute but many people don’t have that luxury.”

She said she’s already signed Glazer’s petition at banbartstrikes.com.

Glazer acknowledged that a proposed strike ban would face significant obstacles in the state legislature where many elected officials are closely allied with unions.

He said, “Our movement, our momentum, is not over.”

The councilman pledged he would continue to advocate for a ban on transit strikes despite any political fallout.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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