MCTS drivers threaten strike

Milwaukee County and leaders of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998, which represents Milwaukee County Transit System employees, are in meetings today in attempts to avoid a strike Wednesday.

MCTS workers are planning a strike Wednesday, after rejecting Monday a new contract proposal the county says would increase pay for bus drivers and mechanics.

According to the county, the average MCTS bus driver will earn more than $62,000 this year. The proposed contract, presented to the union on Friday, includes a 1 percent raise beginning in 2017, a 1.3 percent decrease in employee pension contributions beginning in 2016, and a matching $500 Flexible Spending Account to make up for health care cost increases. The county also offered to hire some part-time drivers to reduce overtime.

“We remain committed to avoiding a strike and ask union leaders to work with us to continue serving the community,” said Dan Boehm, managing director of MCTS. “We believe the proposal we put forward improves MCTS and our future sustainability, while also rewarding drivers and mechanics for the excellent and important job they do.”

On average, MCTS offers 150,000 rides per day in Milwaukee, Washington, Ozaukee and Waukesha counties. During Summerfest, which runs through July 5, that number increases by tens of thousands.

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