California Drivers Returning, Columbus Strike Continues
Undated (AP) _ Bus drivers planned to return to work Monday in Orange County, Calif., after a two-week walkout affecting about 110,000 commuters, but no talks were scheduled in Columbus, Ohio, where a transit strike entered its 13th day Sunday.
The strike against the Orange County Transit District ended Saturday when about 500 drivers showed up at the bus garage and offered to go back to work while negotiators take up wage issues, district spokeswoman Joanne Curran said.
Union spokeswoman Juliene Smith said a committee made the decision without a vote of the membership.
Ms. Smith, chief negotiator for the Tustin-based United Transportation Union Local 19, said the drivers would continue to protest the district’s final offer of a 7.5 percent wage increase offer.
The union has asked for a 13 percent raise over the length of the proposed 3 1/2 -year contract. The current top wage for a driver is $13 per hour.
The district’s 732 drivers will continue to operate under the current wage contract when they return to work Monday, Ms. Curran said.
Also, she said, new rules will be enforced increasing part-time drivers, contracting out more work to private companies and allowing drug tests.
In Columbus, 630 bus drivers and mechanics remained off the job Sunday in a strike against the Central Ohio Transit Authority that started Dec. 9 and forced about 90,000 people to find other means of transportation.
No talks were scheduled between negotiators for the transit authority and Transport Workers Union Local 208.
Both the union and the company have accused each other of refusing to negotiate the issues, which include use of part-time help and subcontractors, as well as wages. Top scale for drivers is $12.31 an hour. The top hourly rate for mechanics is $13.33.