Milwaukee Bus Drivers Strike Looming
Yesterday, members of the union that represents drivers for the transit system voted overwhelmingly against a contract proposal, with 93% voting against it and 92% voting to strike. Bus drivers have been working without a contract for three months.
Bus service will continue to operate Tuesday, but if an agreement is not reached bus service will stop at 3:00am Wednesday.
There is still a chance that a strike can be avoided. Union leaders and management will be meeting today to see if a compromise can be made. Hopefully an agreement can be reached and a strike will be avoided.
The key sticking points:
- A sudden increase in part-time drivers. Currently, there are no part-time drivers; under the contract the bus system could hire part-time drivers and up to 15% of bus drivers being part time. Such a high amount at once has the union concerned that the bus system wants to make most drivers part-time.
- Bathroom breaks. Bus drivers typically only get 4 minutes at the end of a route for a bathroom break and layovers are usually not in areas with restrooms nearby.
- Health insurance. Bus drivers will pay more for their health insurance coverage.
- Pensions. The union is concerned that hiring part-time drivers whilecutting the contribution amount paid by bus drivers could undermine the pension fund.
MCTS management on the other hand, says that it is offering an 8% raise to bus drivers and that the number of part-time drivers is small compared to other systems.
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