Orange County Transportation Authority buses were still running Tuesday amid continued negotiations with a Teamsters local representing bus drivers who are poised to strike if an agreement isn’t reached.

Teamsters Local 952 had been set to go on strike Tuesday, but both sides were talking last night and continuing beyond midnight in hopes of averting a walkout.

“We’re continuing to negotiate today and currently we are using mediators helping us through the negotiations,” OCTA spokesman Joel Zlotnik said Monday.

Teamster Local 952 Secretary-Treasurer Eric Jimenez said on Friday the main hangup in the negotiations has been lunches and breaks for drivers. He said union members believe the law requires the agency to provide times for drivers to take a lunch or other breaks.

“They (the OCTA) feel they’re exempt from that law,” Jimenez said.

Zlotnik said “under no circumstances do we prevent drivers from using the restroom.”

The drivers have always been allowed to pull over if they need to and push a button on the bus to alert the agency they are taking a bathroom break, Zlotnik said.

“And they’re never penalized for doing that,” Zlotnik said. “We build into the schedule those breaks, and those are paid breaks.”

It is “challenging” to structure the breaks into the schedule because each route has varying lengths and times to complete, Zlotnik said.

Commuters were advised to check for updates to see if their bus service will be affected. Some routes will be able to continue with drivers from other contractors.

Teamster officials said they made several proposals on Thursday and Friday but did not receive a counteroffer. Zlotnik said the agency has made counterproposals.

Jimenez said another issue has been pay increases and whether they would be applied retroactively.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.