Nineteen Foothill Transit lines — from Pomona across the East San Gabriel Valley — may be out of operation Monday if labor negotiations out of Foothill’s Pomona yard are not resolved by midnight.
The yard’s 50 mechanics, represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1756, is set to strike at midnight if it cannot reach an agreement with Keolis Commuter Services, the contracted operator of the yard, said Local 1756 President Richard Conell. The yard’s bus drivers, represented by Teamsters Local 848, may opt not to cross the picket line, Conell said, leaving 19 lines without service.
Should the strike take effect, some of the remaining 19 lines, which operate out of Foothill Transit’s Arcadia yard, would be extended in order to help cover for the 19 missing lines, but none of the Arcadia buses would take over any of the Pomona lines, said Foothill Transit spokeswoman Felicia Friesma.
Keolis spokeswoman Leslie Aun said the transit company began negotiations in June, in advance of taking over operations at the Pomona yard on July 1, and has offered six contract proposals that have been met without counteroffers from ATU. However, Conell said the two sides are close except that Local 1756 wants the final proposed contract’s term to end in 2019 — before the state minimum wage increases to $15 per hour in 2020 — instead of the proposal’s 2021 finish date.
That final proposal would set hourly wages at $13 per hour through 2021, Conell said.
“We have agreed on everything in principle pretty much, but they’re trying to stron-garm us into taking a low-wage increase for two-to-three years,” Conell said.
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