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Governor Intervenes to Prevent BART Strike

Governor Jerry Brown intervened last night to prevent a second BART strike in as many months. (BART)

Governor Jerry Brown intervened last night to prevent a second BART strike in as many months. (BART)

Governor Jerry Brown intervened last night in the BART issue, appointing a board to investigate the contract negotiations between BART and its labor unions. The move halts the immediate prospect of a strike.

A letter to the BART and union heads signed by Mr. Brown says that he acted at the request of BART management. While the board investigates, the unions are prohibited from a strike, and BART is prohibited from enacting a lockout.

Brown has asked the team to report back within seven days.

The three-member board consists of Jacob Appelsmith, Chairman, Robert Balgenorth and Micki Callahan, each of whom will be paid a $100 per diem. Mr. Appelsmith is an attorney and former bureaucrat. Mr. Balgenorth and Ms. Callahan have employee relations, mediation, and union experience.

Separately, last week, Assemblymember for the 18th District Rob Bonta threw his support behind the BART unions by co-signing an op-ed piece that appeared in East Bay newspapers.

The letter, also signed by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, and Assemblymember Bill Quirk of Hayward, cited union talking points and called on the BART board “to ask pointed questions about BART’s negotiating tactics, how it values safety and the potential for new revenue opportunities.”

Both Skinner and Bonta listed American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union endorsements on their 2012 campaign web sites, and all three listed Service Employee International Union (SEIU) endorsements.

BART has been bargaining with the SEIU, and the Amalgamated Transit Union, and the AFSCME has said it would walk out with the other two unions in a show of support.

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