The San Luis Obispo Rapid Transit Agency and union leadership that represents its bus drivers agreed to a four-year contract on Oct. 7, pending the agreement of the union’s membership. The union’s rank and file will vote on the contract Oct. 15.
If the drivers turn down the agreement, a strike would likely be the result, said Lynn Swenson, secretary treasurer for Teamsters Local 381, the union representing the RTA’s drivers.
Both sides met with a federal mediator on Oct. 7 in a last-ditch effort to avoid a strike. The RTA and the drivers had been negotiating for more than a year. The bus drivers formerly worked for an outside private company and were brought in-house. Drivers wanted salaries and benefits closer to the pay standards of government drivers, which is much higher than what private companies pay.
According to sources familiar with the terms of the agreement, the drivers won’t be getting comparable pay with other government drivers in the county, though they will be getting a raise and are guaranteed annual raises for the next four years. The RTA reportedly made concessions for seniority and uniform allowances.