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AC Transit Union Could Strike Wednesday

| August 5, 2013
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First the BART-ocalypse that didn’t happen today, then the I-80 traffic jam that did, and now … more Bay Area transit Summer of Discontent news.

An AC Transit bus at the Transbay terminal in San Francisco (Deb Svoboda/KQED)

An AC Transit bus at the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco (Deb Svoboda/KQED)

An Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District employee union delivered a strike notice to the transit agency’s board of directors at its meeting in Oakland this afternoon.

Union workers are threatening a walk-off as early as this Wednesday. AC Transit — which runs buses from Richmond to Fremont and across the Bay Bridge — has been locked in a months-long negotiation with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192. The union’s current contract expired on June 30, but workers chose not to strike at the same time as BART. Both transit agencies on strike at the same time could have been debilitating for local commuters.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192, which represents 1,625 mechanics and bus operators, notified the board about a possible work stoppage beginning as soon as 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

AC Transit has offered the union a 9 percent salary raise over three years and wants union workers to pay 10 percent to their healthcare costs, what other district employees pay. The union wants a 10.5 percent raise and to phase in healthcare payments at a “reasonable level,” but didn’t share details about what that might mean.

AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson says he’s not sure why the unions have chosen this moment to announce a possible strike, when substantial progress is still being made.

“It’s slow but steady progress in the talks,” he said.

He said a strike “would be catastrophic.” About 181,000 trips are taken on AC Transit daily.

“We’re hopeful we will be able to come to some sort of resolution without disruption to service,” AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said this morning.

ATU Local 192 officials did not return requests for comment.

– Reporting by Isabel Angell

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