RTA, union head-to-head days before rumored strike deadline

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DAYTON, Ohio (WRGT) - Tensions continue tonight between the Dayton RTA and its drivers.

There's still no contract in sight, and the deadline for a proposed strike is close. CEO Mark Donaghy held a press conference today, calling it a last-ditch effort to avoid a system shutdown. This is the fourth proposal the RTA has offered since May 2015.

"Give them a raise," rider Elizabeth Armstead said. "Look, they need it. They drive everyday."

"The media gets more direct conversation from our union president than I do," Donaghy said.

The latest plan includes two percent wage increases for three years, and up to 10.5 percent increases for project mobility drivers.

"I believe it's certainly fair, if not generous, in this day and age considering the situation," Donaghy said.

On top of that, the RTA is offering an additional two percent cash incentive. But, Donaghy says the union presented requests last week to increase healthcare contributions, which would cost an addition $3 million dollars.

"I can tell you the one suggestion he made to me is why don't we just raise taxes," Donaghy said.

The RTA shut down that deal, with the only option cutting service lines and staff.

"That's just not something we're willing to do," he added.

Donaghy's been vocal throughout the years-long process, speaking out about what he's calling "excessive demands".

"Actually, I hear the reason they're still riding right now is on account of the people who take the bus," rider Greg Hansbro said.

Hansbro, like other riders, were once worried, but are now in disbelief days before a rumored deadline.

"For two years! That' a long time," Hansbro said. "They're not giving in on either side right now."

"At this time, it seems like we have trouble agreeing on much of anything," Donaghy said.

We've heard no word from union members, and they were not at the conference. The union hasn't given any notice to the state on their plan to strike, even though it's required by law.

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