Bus drivers and mechanics from AC Transit’s Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192 will hold a strike authorization vote on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the first public indication of problems in contract negotiations between the 1,400 member local and the East Bay’s public bus agency.
The vote will be taken over a 24-hour period at the union headquarters on Enterprise Way in East Oakland.
AC Transit and Local 192 have been without a contract since July of last year.
This week’s union member authorization vote only seeks membership approval to call a strike, and does not mean an AC Transit strike is imminent. Such strike authorizations have been approved by Local 192 members several times in recent years during contract negotiations as ways of turning up the heat on the agency, but the last actual agency strike was a 69 day walkout in 1977.
There was no word from either side on what issues may be holding up settlement of the new contract, a two-year pact approved in the summer of 2005.
In a notice sent out to union members announcing the strike authorization vote, Local 192 officials said that the union “continues to negotiate with the district in good faith. However, we must take the next step in preparation for a strike in the event the union and the district are unable to reach an agreement.”
Local 192 union officials did not return a Daily Planet telephone message seeking comment for this story, and AC Transit Board President Chris Peeples was out of town this week and unavailable for comment.
“We’re not anticipating any imminent strike,” AC Transit Media Affairs Manager Clarence Johnson said in a telephone interview. Johnson said he could not comment on any details on the negotiations themselves, or on any possible strike contingencies being prepared by the transit agency.