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AC Transit to appeal court-ordered arbitration in contract dispute

By dcuff
Thursday, August 19th, 2010 at 7:59 am in Uncategorized.

The AC Transit Board voted last night to appeal a court order forcing the transit district into arbitration with its prolonged contract dispute, and also decided to appeal an injunction forcing the bus sytem to return to old work rules and contract provisions in operating the district. The decision is the latest twist in the confict over the board’s effort to wring cost-cutting concessions out of its unionized bus drivers and mechanics as the district struggles with financial problems and service cuts.

  Read more about it later today at www.contracostatimes.com . AC Transit reiterated last night that  it is going to look in the coming weeks at cutting weekend bus service and other money saving options to offset the higher cost of operating the district under the old contract provisions.

In a statement issued by AC Transit, interim General Manager Mary King said, “We have a duty to ensure the long term sustainability of the district. We are here to serve our riders and the District.  Unfortunately, the union’s economic demands, coupled with the imposition of binding arbitration, are out of whack with economic realities.”

King added “AC Transit must balance the needs of its riders who rely on bus transit, the taxpayers who support us, and our drivers and employees.  We cannot allow the system to favor the bus drivers over our riders and taxpayers—which is what the union is demanding.”

The bus drivers’ union has said it was willing to make some concessions, and that going to an arbitrator would iron out the last unresolved issues. The district contends it’s a bad idea to let a third party make important contract decisions that affect the district’s financial health.

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