GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4) – Local union bus drivers and support staff at Grand Valley Transit voted unanimously late Tuesday evening to authorize union leaders to call a strike after negotiations failed earlier in the day.
Judi DeRusha, President, ATU Local 1776 says “a strike isn’t good for our passengers or our paychecks.”
It’s unclear when a strike could be called but last minute negotiations may resume.
The union and Transdev, a French-based private contractor hired by GVT to operate the service, have been in negotiations since the fall of 2018.
Currently, GVT’s professional bus operators are required to qualify for and carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL), pass rigorous drug testing, and go through extensive training, yet the union says are paid just $11.25 an hour after their first year on the job. They top out after five years at $13.65 an hour.
“We are simply asking to earn enough to survive, raise a family, or retire on the Western Slope,” DeRusha added.
The collective bargaining agreement, which both parties are attempting to honor, expired on Dec. 31.