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Majority of Bay Area Residents Support Transit Strike Ban

Friday, December 13, 2013 - 04:00 PM

KALW

Over half of Bay Area residents support a ban on transit strikes, bucking the region’s pro-union reputation, reveals a new Field Poll. The rest of the state is split, but more Californians still believe public transit workers should have the right to strike.

Fifty-two percent of Bay Area residents said they would support a ban on transit strikes. People in the region still believe that overall, unions do more good than harm-- but the gap between the two groups has become much closer over the years.

The pollsters suggest that the two paralyzing BART strikes this year played a role in shift in opinion.

Steve Glazer, an Orinda City Councilmember and State Assembly candidate, said he got over 20,000 signatures on his petition to ban BART strikes.

State Senator Bob Huff, a Republican from the Southern California city of Diamond Bar, is pushing for legislation that would ban transit strikes.

"If we're going to make the people of California reliant on public transit systems, then we have to make sure those systems can be relied on," Huff said in a release. "Shutting down public transit is neither safe nor fair. Police officers and firefighters aren't allowed to strike because they provide a vital public service. The same reason applies here.”

California is generally seen as a pro-labor state, but the same poll reveals that could be changing. Forty-five percent of the state’s registered voters believe unions do more harm than good; 40 percent believe unions do more good than harm. That’s a reversal from a March 2011 poll where 46 percent of Californians said unions were doing more good than harm.

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