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IBEW, Teamsters, LiUNA and Others Authorize Strike Over Golden Gate Bridge Contract

Coalition members in a show of solidarity.

Coalition members in a show of solidarity.

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The 13 unions that make up the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition authorized a strike Monday night which could lead to a shutdown of ferry and bus services.  No date has been set for the action as the group hopes to continue negotiations with the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District.  More than 450 workers have been without a contract since July 1st.  

Late last month the affected workers took to the web to explain why the individual unions were voting on whether or not to strike.  At the time they gave the following explanation for their actions:

On June 30, the Golden Gate Highway and Transportation District, our employers, walked away from the bargaining table. The contract they proposed will do two things: it will dramatically increase the costs of our health care premiums; and along with the ever-increasing costs of living, “real” wages will go down. And we don’t need to tell you how expensive it is to live in the Bay Area.

So we want to inform you that the 13 unions that form the Labor Coalition have taken votes to authorize a strike. Going on strike is a last resort, and no one wants to—not us, not our employers, and certainly not you, the commuter.

Union members are being asked to pay for a larger share of their health care benefits without receiving a raise great enough to counter the adverse financial effect. Coalition co-chair Alex Tonisson said that there is one health plan option which would actually lower premiums:

“With a plan like this, it’s much more attractive for the younger, more-healthy workers to go to it and therefore there is migration out of the current health care plans, which means that in three years, it’s very possible that the current health care plans are then going to be even less affordable and the district is going to try to get rid of those.”

Tonnison said that a strike is not the preferred option for the workers, but could be necessary: “Our members do not want to go on strike, but what the district is offering is not acceptable.  We are struggling, and we think the Bay Area can relate.”

The Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition has intimated that they would inform all commuters prior to their strike should it happen, so that alternative travel plans can be arranged.  Busses and ferries lower the daily number of bridge passengers by an estimated 25 percent.  


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