January 29, 2024, 10:03h.
Last updated on: January 29, 2024, 10:03h.
Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada bus drivers and mechanics have authorized a strike as negotiations continue in an effort to reach a deal.
During votes on Thursday and Friday, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1637 overwhelmingly rejected the latest offer from Transdev. The firm operates the RTC public bus service.
The union said its members rejected the proposal by a 597 to six vote. Workers want higher salaries and improved safety.
For drivers and mechanics: no pay raise, no pay increase until next year, after they’ve been here for a year,” Dennis Hennessey, a bus driver and ATU member, explained to Las Vegas TV station KTNV. “And it’s a two percent across-the-board raise.”
“For those of us drivers that are at the top of the pay scale, it’s an 11-cent-an-hour raise — which is nothing.”
If hundreds of union members walk off the job, it may take place in the days leading up to and including Super Bowl 58. The big game is being played in Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium on Feb. 11.
Drivers are aware a strike would impact the hundreds of thousands of visitors who are expected to show up for the Super Bowl and related events.
Sure would be tough if we were on strike for people to move around this town for Super Bowl since they’re not letting cabs, Uber or Lyft go anywhere near Allegiant Stadium,” Hennessey said. “Sure would be tough to have empty buses sitting and nobody getting on those buses.”
Hennessy added that management wouldn’t be able to find sufficient replacement drivers if there is a strike, Las Vegas TV station KVVU reported.
Drivers Punched, Assaulted, Spit On
Beyond salary, bus drivers also are concerned about worker safety. There were 17 acts of violence that took place on RTC buses between March and September of 2023.
“We’ve got drivers out there being spit on, punched, assaulted — driver had a gun shot at his window last week — only to have the RTC do nothing effective,” Hennessey told KTNV.
In a statement, Transdev spokesperson Bill Marion said union members already were given a “significant wage increase” last summer.
Back then, management and the union agreed on a temporary agreement to provide “over $6 million in annual investment and guaranteeing raises of at least 8%.”
The negotiation process has been productive, professional, and conducted in good faith by all parties. Transdev remains hopeful for a swift resolution alongside our partners at the ATU,” the statement added.
Strike Would Be Illegal
As of a few days ago, Transdev had yet to get a formal strike notification from the union. The union has to provide a 30-day written notice to hold a legal strike, the company said.
“Both parties are operating under a valid agreement, so any violation of this agreement would be an unlawful act,” Transdev said in the statement. “It is Transdev’s expectation that the ATU will honor the agreement and deliver uninterrupted service to the public. We remain committed to providing safe and reliable service to our community.”
Also, the Culinary Union has threatened to go out on strike on Feb. 2 if settlements are not reached between Las Vegas properties and hospitality workers who are still trying to reach agreements.