RTA hopeful it can avoid strike

(WDTN Photo/Justin Kraus)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) –  The CEO of Greater Dayton RTA is responding to a letter sent by its unionized drivers announcing a strike vote taken over the weekend.

Greater Dayton RTA CEO Mark Donaghy. (WDTN Photo/Justin Kraus)
Greater Dayton RTA CEO Mark Donaghy. (WDTN Photo/Justin Kraus)

Mark Donaghy met with reporters Tuesday afternoon. He said they are still talking with the union and the RTA knows this recent vote to authorize a strike is part of the process.

Donaghy said the RTA faces the same issues any other business in terms of insurance the costs associated with providing coverage to its employees. The CEO said RTA has offered a 3-year contract with 2-percent wage increases in each of the three years and a 2-percent lump sum to cover wages from 2015.

Donaghy said many of the people served by RTA are people going to and from work and find the tactic of “holding people hostage” distasteful. According to officials, RTA has dropped “90-percent” of its original contract proposal.

“It’s my sense they wish to get back to the table but at some point there’s a reality here that we don’t have an unlimited source of money to just throw at issues like this and especially in consideration of the fact that what I think they’re looking for is to be treated better than other employees and other union employees and we’re not prepared to do that,” said Donaghy.

Donaghy said the letter he received said the union wants to meet with RTA before any further action is taken. RTA offered four dates to hold that meeting.

You can watch Mark Donaghy’s comments here:

RTA operates just under 300 buses in the system and has about 350 operators and 100 people in maintenance, according to Donaghy. If a strike happens he said all big bus systems would stop. According to officials RTA transports nearly 30,000 people every day.

“That’s going to inconvenience a lot of people,” said rider, Elizabeth Bowling of Dayton.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1385 said its members “voted overwhelmingly” to authorize a strike Sunday. Among its complaints, the union says raises were approved for all employees except union members.

The ATU also says it takes issue with driving hours, insurance rates and the loss of sick time.

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