While Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) officials expect no service disruptions this week — despite the lack of a contract agreement with a union representing more than 160 employees, including its bus drivers — a labor dispute might not be far down the line.
MTD and Teamsters Union Local 186, which represents MTD drivers, mechanics, supervisors, and service personnel, have agreed to go into mediation to try to resolve the contract issues. Bill Elder with Local 186 said the primary issue was with health care, but because of the upcoming mediation, he didn’t want to expand. “There’s a whole bunch of stuff on the table,” he said.
MTD spokesperson David Damiano also wouldn’t elaborate on where the disagreements lie, given the upcoming mediation. “We should let that process work itself out.” He said the decision to employ a mediator helped avoid a strike. An MTD press release also said that both sides have made a good-faith effort to resolve the outstanding issues.
Elder said that the discussions are “kind of getting to the 11th hour” and that the two sides are “not even close” to a resolution. MTD, he said, hasn’t substantially parted from an offer made in August, one that union members rejected by about a 4-1 vote ratio. Union members have been working under the terms and conditions of their old agreement despite the contract’s expiration on June 30.