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Assemblymember Kristin Olsen introduces bill banning transit strikes

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Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014 12:00 am

Assemblymember Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, introduced Assembly Bill 1536 this week, which would ban public transit unions from striking.

“California is the only state allowing public transit unions to hold commuters hostage with strikes,” Olsen said in a Thursday news release. “It is time that we join the rest of the country in making public transportation systems reliable again.”

For each day of last year’s Bay Area Rapid Transit strike, the Central region lost roughly $73 million in worker productivity, according to Olsen. As 400,000 workers and students scrambled for alternative transportation, traffic was at a stand-still. Tens of thousands more were unable to get to work or school at all during that time, she said.

“Seventy-five percent of the workforce commuting from the Central Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area originates from the Manteca area,” Olsen said. “When the public transportation system shuts down, it creates an exceptional hardship for our neighbors, friends and family members who are just trying to get to work. Public transit unions should not be allowed to jeopardize an entire region’s livelihood over an internal dispute.

“It is against the law for public safety unions to strike because they are essential public services,” she added. “The same standard should apply to public transit unions.”

Assembly Bill 1536 is awaiting assignment to its first committee by the Assembly Rules Committee.

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