No Bus Strike Imminent as AC Transit Workers Authorize One

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday January 22, 2008

AC Transit bus drivers and mechanics voted overwhelmingly last week to authorize a strike in the event ongoing contract negotiations break down, but no strike appears imminent. 

Members of Amalgamated Transit Workers Union Local 192 voted 92 percent Tuesday and Wednesday to allow a strike if and when union workers reject any “best and final offer” from the two-county bus agency. AC Transit has not yet made a “best and final offer,” and union and company officials return to the bargaining table next Tuesday in an attempt to reach agreement on a contract that ran out last summer. 

ACT Local 192 President and Business Manager Yvonne Williams said by telephone last week that working conditions, including public safety issues and meal and rest periods, are holding up agreement. 

“There are minor differences over compensation and we could get closer on health and welfare,” Williams said, adding that “we’re hoping to avoid a strike.” 

Strike votes are a common escalation tactic in labor negotiations, and AC Transit workers have approved several in the past few years before eventually agreeing to a contract. The last AC Transit strike was in 1977.