FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – The union representing Fresno’s bus drivers says the city and the union are “far off” from coming to terms.
The buses are still stopping and going, and union representatives say it will continue this way. However, if negotiations between the two parties go south, this public service could come to a complete halt.
The policy agreement that has been in place for more than 20 years, could see a drastic change.
“Our local is not going to stand for changes like that, it’s our livelihood,” said Alfredo Molina, the Financial Secretary Treasurer for the Amalgamated Transit Union.
At the centerpiece of these negotiations between the city of Fresno and the Amalgamated Transit Union that represents Fresno’s bus drivers, is overtime pay.
In a statement sent to us by the city of Fresno, the city says overtime pay will only be provided after 40 hours physically worked.
That means if an employee calls out sick, those hours do not count towards the total time worked.
“It’s a slap in the face because this over time, in my opinion, is what saved this transit system. We work a very unique job, and we should get paid in a unique way,” said Molina.
Another source of contention is the use of surveillance video to monitor the drivers.
“Now you’re going to discipline me because I didn’t do this earlier in the day or that. So yeah, this is one of the main issues that the drivers are saying ‘hey, where’s my privacy,'” said Luis Montaya, current President of ATU.
“These parties are very far apart,” said Rick Stitez.
Stitez has been a bus driver for nearly 40 years and is the former President of the ATU. He is now a consultant to the union in this negotiation.
He says the reason these policy changes are being brought to light now is because of the recent change in leadership at FAX.
“If there is a job action, and I think both sides are trying to avoid that, there will be no bus service in the city of Fresno,” he said.
FAX did emphasize that riders do not have anything to worry about, buses are still going around the city.
Drivers are currently getting paid through the policy currently in place.
There is another meeting for possible mediation on May 17th.