RTA will not allow third party to settle employee contract dispute

(WDTN Photo/Justin Kraus)
(WDTN Photo/Justin Kraus)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1385 wrote a letter to the CEO of RTA on Wednesday.

In it, Glenn Salyer gave a reminder that the union is still willing to send the employee contract issue to binding arbitration. Which would let a third party settle the matter. The union’s latest offer to do so was in late October.

Salyer wrote in part, “Please advise us to your willingness to participate in getting this done.”

In response, RTA’s CEO sent 2NEWS the same letter the union received last month. Mark Donaghy wrote in part, “As I have said many times, we hope to eventually reach an agreement with Local 1385 for a new contract. We will not however delegate our responsibility to the local taxpayers to a third party to determine the future cost of operating this agency.”

“The RTA system is not only paid for by users but it’s subsidized by taxpayers,” said Chris Kershner, the vice president of economic development for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, “When there’s legal constraints or administrative challenges that come forth, that is a drain on public resources.”

According to RTA officials, the bus drivers and mechanics make an average annual salary of $60,000. Should the workers strike and shutdown the big bus transit system, Kershner said the Dayton area will feel the impact.

“The public counts on reliable transit to be able to get to and from their homes. To and from their places of employment and that’s important,” Kershner said.

Dayton resident, Frances Henderson doesn’t have a car and said she depends on RTA to get to where she needs to go.

“I would have to walk from my house to downtown every day. Back and forth. It would be like 10 miles,” Henderson said.

The main disagreement according to both sides are wages and the increased health care costs.

Dates to negotiate a reasonable employee contract are being scheduled for late November.

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