SAN FRANCISCO - Gov. Jerry Brown said today he was prepared to introduce legislation to avert a potential Bay Area Rapid Transit District strike, before determining the Legislature would not pass such a bill.
"I was prepared to introduce a bill to stop the strike," Brown told reporters after an event here. "But that, after discussions with various leaders, that was not thought as something we could pass."
Brown's office declined to elaborate on the governor's remarks, which came after Senate Republican leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, asked Brown to call the Legislature into an emergency session to prevent a strike in October. Huff has proposed legislation that would take away BART employees' right to strike.
"Governor, BART is only one of two major metropolitan mass transit systems in the nation that are allowed to strike," Huff said in a letter to Brown on Friday. "That ability, when acted upon by the unionized employees, will place a severe strain on the citizens who daily rely on BART to get to their classroom to teach, to arrive safely at their schools, to make it quickly to their place of business, and for tourists of the world to enjoy the splendor that is the Bay Area."
Following a BART worker strike in early July, Brown stepped in last month to avert a second strike, helping secure a 60-day cooling off period.
With the prospect of strike next month looming, the Democratic governor said today, "I think the folks at BART and the union better sit down, because it could be ... a real problem."
He was dismissive of Huff's call for an emergency session, however.
"The matter was discussed and rejected," he said. "Neither the management nor the union have shown any appetite for binding arbitration. I do not want to see a strike. I urge the parties to get real."
PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to reporters in San Francisco on Sept. 16, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders