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VTA Strike Avoided For Now

Submitted by News Desk on Tue, 08/26/2008 - 10:00pm
San Jose, Cailf. (KCBS/Mercury News)  -- The union representing some 1,400 Santa Clara Valley bus and light rail workers threatened to hold a strike vote Wednesday, but Michael Burns, General Manager of the Valley Transportation Authority, says the two sides are still talking.

“We have requested that they have come back to the bargaining table and they have agreed… that’s good news. We hope that we’ll be successful in collective bargaining and coming to an agreement.”

Burns says a strike would be catastrophic and would potentially shutdown the entire transit system.

While Burns remains optimistic about negotiations, Dean Chu, a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, doesn’t believe that the end is near.

“It’s all money,” says Chu. He says the union is asking for increases in wages and benefits.

“The contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union expired in January-February, and we’ve been negotiating since then. So there’s always this element of frustration with something like that.”

According to the Mercury News, the union began passing out fliers two weeks ago about a possible strike on Sept. 8 after the union and VTA reached an impasse in contract negotiations on July 9, and state mediation failed on Aug. 12.

The transit union has not returned KCBS’ phone calls seeking comment.