Bay Area commuters can now breathe a little easier: Governor Jerry Brown appointed a three-person board Wednesday evening to investigate the contract dispute between AC Transit management and local union ATU 192, ending the threat of a strike for Thursday morning.
The governor sent out a letter earlier this evening saying he appointed the board to intervene because a strike would, “significantly disrupt public transportation services and endanger the public’s health, safety, or welfare.”
Governor Brown named Peter Southworth (chairperson), Josie Camacho and Micki Callahan to oversee the investigation, and no strike can occur while the review takes place.
“The board is directed to provide me with a written report in seven days,” Brown wrote. “For the sake of the people of the Bay Area, I urge both sides to take this matter seriously and to continue working to find a fair solution.”
With an AC Transit strike off the table, Bay Area residents will still have reliable public transit access while BART negotiations continue to stall.
According to Clarence Johnson, an AC Transit spokesperson, 180,000 total riders would be impacted by a strike.
AC Transit management’s latest proposal, which called for a 3 percent pay increase each of the next two years, and a 3.5 percent raise in the third year, was rejected by employees. Under the proposal, workers would pay for a portion of their medical premiums for the first time.
Brown’s decision does not delay the threat of a strike for long. If no agreement is reached in the next week, he could bar any AC Transit shutdown for two months, much like he did with BART earlier this summer.