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San Francisco BART Strike Prompts State Legislation

SACRAMENTO — Republican legislative leaders have introduced legislation that would block BART workers from striking if their most recent contracts have no-strike clauses — just as their expiring contracts do now.

“You have a signed agreement where you said you wouldn’t go on strike, and now you’re doing it anyway,” says Assembly GOP leader Connie Conway.

Meanwhile, a top political advisor to Governor Jerry Brown who’s running for the Assembly next year as a Democrat is calling for a ban on all public transit strikes.

Such strikes are already prohibited in New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Workers at San Francisco’s bus system, MUNI, are also not allowed to walk off the job.

The California Labor Federation opposes those proposals. It says strikes are always a last resort, but they’re often the only way workers can force management to negotiate in good faith.

Workers from two BART unions walked off the job at midnight Thursday after talks during a marathon negotiating session broke down.

About 400,000 riders take BART every weekday on the nation's fifth-largest commuter rail system. The system carries passengers from the farthest reaches of the densely populated eastern suburbs to San Francisco International Airport across the bay.

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