There are times when a government employee really, really earns that salary and benefits. And a post-midnight press release is one of those times. Here’s a release sent late last night by AC Transit spokeman Clarence Johnson, sent at 12:05 a.m. He is announcing that a bus strike has been averted as AC Transit and the bus drivers’ union reached a late deal. Now if we could only get that BART thing settled. Here’s the release:
AC Transit management and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192 (ATU), which represents the agency’s bus operators and mechanics, have tentatively agreed to terms of a new labor contract for the 1,625 bus operators and mechanics.
The new agreement provides for a wage increase of 9.5% that will be phased in over the three years of the contract. On the more troubling matter of ATU employees making contributions toward health care costs, the District and ATU agreed on monthly contributions of $70, $140 and $180, respectively, for each of the three years.
The agreement heads off a threatened strike that could have begun within less than an hour from the time the tentative contract was announced. A walkout by operators would have halted AC Transit bus service for 181,000 daily riders who depend on buses for transportation throughout the East Bay and onto the Peninsula and San Francisco.
AC Transit began bargaining with the ATU in March and has repeatedly re-adjusted its proposals to keep negotiations on track and minimize the chances for an employee work stoppage.
“This was a long and often intense negotiation and there are no winners or losers in its outcome,” said AC Transit General Manager David Armijo. “We are happy we were able to get through process without any disruption in service. Clearly both sides focused on what was best for the riders and taxpayers of this District and what is in the long-term interest of maintaining public transit for the communities we serve.”