Steve Glazer’s move supporting legislation to prohibit BART strikes may put him in good standing with voters much like Calvin Coolidge nearly a century ago when he made a similar stand opposing strikes that endanger the public. Both took on labor and risked defeat at the polls. For Coolidge, his position sent him on the road to the White House. For Glazer, well, it just may help him reach the California Assembly.

Glazer, Orinda City Council member, former campaign advisor to Jerry Brown, and candidate for the 16th Assembly District took the bold step of supporting a bill to ban strikes by BART workers. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci reported, he is risking support from labor in a race that includes a number of other Democratic candidates.

Glazer declared that a pending strike by BART workers was “wrong.” He said a strike would cripple the economy and hurt individuals who are trying to get to work or school. He noted that laws against transportation worker strikes exist in other large metropolitan areas in the United States. In fact, there is a San Francisco law prohibiting city transit workers from striking.

As Marinucci writes, California courts have allowed public workers to strike with a couple of exceptions. One exception is when a law specifically prohibits certain workers from striking, which Glazer wants to see put in place for BART workers. However, it’s important to note the second exception: if a strike “would create a substantial and imminent threat to public safety.” Glazer says public safety interest is at stake in the Bay Area.

The court’s statement echoes then-Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge’s memorable quote in dealing with the 1919 Boston police strike: “There is no right to strike against the public safety, anywhere, anytime.”

The question for Glazer is how his strong stand will play with the voters. If Coolidge’s history is a yardstick, Glazer should do quite well.

Coolidge reportedly was warned that his tough position would hurt his chances for re-election. Instead, he easily won his race and garnered national attention. The thousands of letters delivered to his office were overwhelming supportive. He became a national figure and was offered the vice-presidential spot on a ticket with Warren Harding.

One oddity to suggest the wide effect of Coolidge’s stand might be seen in the recent obituary of the famed television car salesman, Cal Worthington. His full name was Calvin Coolidge Worthington and he was born in Oklahoma on November 27, 1920, a few weeks after the national election. He was apparently named not for the newly elected president but for the new vice-president, a decidedly uncommon occurrence.

Polls in the Bay Area indicate that residents are strongly against the potential BART strike. A short BART strike in the summer angered many in the public and the strikers did not help their cause.

The 1919 strikers crossed a line with the public and labor leaders recognized that fact. Fabled labor leader, Samuel Gompers, called for an end to the strike.

Glazer’s stand is based on his vision of good policy, but if history is a guide, it may be good politics as well.