GRTC strike possible, Union to meet April 10

By Curt Autry - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – After saying "no" twice before, GRTC bus drivers will soon vote again on a new contract offer. But now, at least one top union official is saying a strike seems more likely.

The sticking point seems to be the merging of two union contracts - one between regular drivers, and specialized Para-Transit workers who drive smaller, specialty vehicles and earn less money. Ray Rivera is the International Vice President of the Amalgamated Transit Union. He claims that kind of merger isn't on the up & up.

"The workers have a problem, they have a trust problem with the management of the company and how they intend to use this contract once it's merged," said Rivera.

The more senior drivers of the big buses fear that kind of deal could push them out. But not so says GRTC, CEO John Lewis, who claims this is the final offer.

"Our strategy moving forward will not require any layoffs, will not require any diminishment of wages, and we thought that was the way to move forward," said Lewis.

Meanwhile, some non union personnel at GRTC are taking re-fresher courses, on how to drive buses. The rank & file votes April 10. GRTC executives insist there will be no interruption in service, should the drivers walk out.

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