MILWAUKEE — After a year and a half of contract negotiations, bus drivers voted to reject their latest contract offer and to approve a possible strike.
The Milwaukee County Transit System called the move a common negotiation tactic.
Amalgamated Transit Union 998 represents bus drivers and mechanics with MCTS.
"You know, 18 months without a contract it wasn’t no job stoppage. We basically (were) here doing the job, and all they’re asking for here is to be treated fairly," said James Macon, ATU president.
Macon said he would not call a strike unless the current proposal is forced on them. The contract they want would have back pay and security protections for drivers and riders.
MCTS said it would cost millions of dollars and require route cuts.
MCTS released a statement:
"We’re disappointed, but not surprised, that ATU Local 998 rejected our offer because they’ve refused to acknowledge our fiscal constraints. Our offer included meaningful wage increases and a generous healthcare package.
"ATU Local 998’s most recent counter proposal would cost $5.5 million more plus additional back pay. In order to afford that, we’d have to double the amount of route cuts that are already proposed for 2020."