WALNUT CREEK (KPIX 5) – With one week to go until a heated East Bay special election, a candidate who seeks to ban BART strikes is raising questions after some transit agency workers posed with signs backing his opponent on BART property.
“We’ve launched an investigation. And if there’s any action that is warranted, we’ll take that action,” BART spokesperson Jim Allison told KPIX 5.
That action could be anything from doing nothing to a slap on the wrist to being fired.
Orinda mayor Steve Glazer, who is in a neck and neck race against Susan Bonilla, said he came across photos on the internet over the weekend.
“This political organizing was going on at the exact same time that BART was having huge maintenance problems,” Glazer said.
The workers may also have broken state law, as well as BART’s own code of conduct.
“You can put bumper stickers on your car, you can wear political buttons, but you can’t take a position or do an activity that implies that BART has a particular position on a political issue,” Allison said.
SEIU Local 1021 present John Arantes, who is in some of the photos, told KPIX 5 that the workers were on break and “within their rights to discuss politics.”
KPIX 5 asked Allison if workers can have political meetings on BART property. “They cannot have political meetings on BART property during working hours. If they are working, if they are getting paid by BART, you are not to be engaged in political activity,” the spokesperson said.
Whatever the case, the photos show how serious the unions are about defeating Glazer and his call for a ban on BART strikes, like the one that repeatedly crippled the system in 2013
“Glazer is definitely positioning himself a more moderate and conservative and business interests are supporting him. And for Susan Bonilla, she is definitely more of a traditional Democrat,” said Lisa Tucker, a political consultant.
The special election for the 7th State Senate District takes place next Tuesday.