MTD Continues Negotiations with Employee Union, No Comment on Strike

Union Entered Negotiations over Concerns of Unsafe COVID-19 Working Conditions

Santa Barbara MTD | Credit: Harvest Keeney (file)

Employees of Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) are continuing negotiations with the public transit agency’s leadership Thursday, July 14, after raising concerns, and threatening a strike, over what they say have been unfair working conditions during the pandemic. 

Teamsters Local 186, the Santa Barbara County union for MTD employees, announced that it had sanctioned a strike against MTD supervisors on July 7, citing COVID-related deaths among staff, a lack of hazard pay, and employees being terminated for comorbidities. Negotiations between MTD leadership and the union began on Tuesday, but Union leaders have declined to comment on specific demands and have not responded to requests for comment on the possibility of a strike.

In the initial release announcing the potential strike, Teamsters wrote that MTD also gave its management 18 percent raises during the pandemic and is preparing to shift from full-time to part-time drivers. 

MTD spokesperson Hillary Blackerby said the agency “continues to bargain in good faith” with the union representatives.

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