2-year negotiation with RTA leads to strike notice by drivers union
MIAMI VALLEY (WRGT) -- RTA bus drivers will go on strike Jan. 9, 2017.
The Local ATU 1385 notified its employer and the state Employment Relations Board today (12/28/2016), of their intent to strike, as required by law.
The strike will mean the thousands of people who use services provided by the Greater Dayton RTA will need to find alternative transport to work, school and medical appointments.
Union president Glenn Salyer said the only way a strike could still be avoided now that a date is set, is if both parties can agree on a new contract.
The parties have been fighting over contract negotiations for nearly two years.
"We only asked give us what you gave everybody else, give us what you gave your people, I mean we're human beings, too, and the cost-of-living goes up for us, too," said Salyer.
Salyer said his 466 drivers and maintenance workers don't want to let down the riders who they bus to the Miami Valley's major employers every day.
"It's important, I mean, I live in Belmont so I can't just rent one of these bikes and peddle in," said Christie Magby, who works at CareSource in downtown Dayton.
A CareSource spokesperson told FOX 45 they have approximately 30-35 employees who they provide RTA bus passes to, who will now need to find alternate transportation to work.
Salyer said the bus loads of employees they transport to Proctor & Gamble in Vandalia every day will also be out a ride.
Dayton Public Schools said they will not be able to find rides for the high school students who take RTA buses to school every day.
"I was hoping that they'd work out their issues because I heard for a lot of months now it's been going back and forth," said Magby.
The Union said RTA won't agree to the 2% pay increases they asked for 2015, 2016, and 2017 with back pay, or affordable health care.
"Our members cannot afford to take cuts in pay of those sizes and the insurance is well over $10,000 in our cost," said Salyer. "We do have people that would literally, mathematically not get a paycheck because of all the deductions."
RTA CEO Mark Donaghey would not interview with FOX 45 Wednesday, but said in a statement the proposal RTA gave the union on Friday, Dec. 23, had three different economic options, and reached the limits of what they could give.
According to strike information on RTA's website, the union's claims about insurance costs aren't true.
Salyer refuted that claim.
"We have brought in an insurance consultant and we have discovered that they are actually overcharging us for the insurance to help pay for the HSA money that they are putting into our accounts," Salyer said. "So we're literally paying for that."
The union said there will still be some service for people who rely on RTA for dire medical appointments.
Union reps also said they would end the strike within one hour of signing an agreeable contract, but they did intend to picket during their work stoppage strike.
RTA has answers to the frequent questions they are being asked about service, click here for more.