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RTC bus drivers OK contract; full operation by Monday

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 4:48 AM PST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2021 at 3:01 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - DEC. 2 UPDATE: The latest strike against Regional Transportation Commission public buses is coming to the end after Teamsters Local 533 on Thursday approved the contract offered by Keolis Transit, which manages the bus line.

The Teamsters went on strike three times for a total of 60 days.

A union representative thought full bus service would return by Saturday. The RTC issued a statement that said some service would begin on Saturday but the full bus routes would not return until Monday.

The agreed-upon contract has pay increases of 5.5%, then 4.7% and finally 3% over three years.

“This new deal will eliminate the need for further ‘repetitive and harmful strikes’ caused by Keolis,” Teamsters Local President Gary Watson said in a statement. “From day one, this has always been about the safety of our members and riders and improving working conditions in our profession. Our members stood strong, fought together with dignity and earned the community’s respect in our struggle to retain important contract language and request economic improvements.”

Keolis urged passengers to go to https://www.rtcwashoe.com/public-transportation/ and click on the Transit Alerts tab for operating routes and to sign up for notifications.

“We’re grateful for our passengers’ patience over the last several weeks and we look forward to continuing to provide the safe and reliable transit service they expect—and deserve,” said Phil Pumphrey, Keolis general manager. “We look forward to continuing to build productive relationships with our team and their union representatives. Taking care of our people – our passengers and our employees – will always be our first priority at Keolis.”

Keolis continues to hire drivers. New drivers get a $2,000 bonus. More information: https://www.keolisna.com/careers.

The Teamsters also praised United States Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and Teamsters General President-Elect Sean O’Brien for bringing an end to the strike.

NOV. 30 UPDATE: Teamsters Union Local 533 says its members will vote on Thursday, December 2nd on a contract proposal from Keolis, the operator of the RTC bus fleet.

Until the contract is approved by union membership, the strike will continue.

Keolis Regional Vice President, Operations, for Keolis North America said in a statement to KOLO 8, “Over the weekend, Keolis and representatives from Teamsters International held productive negotiation sessions and achieved a tentative collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters Local 533. Pending ratification by the union, more complete service will be reinstated as quickly as possible.”

RTC Chair and City of Reno Vice Mayor Neoma Jardon a statement regarding the potential end of the third transit strike, “I am encouraged that both parties have reached resolution on all issues in their Collective Bargaining Agreement. While this latest accord will need to be voted on by the Teamsters membership later this week, I am hopeful this will bring to an end the repetitive and harmful strikes and will return reliable transit service to our community.”

NOV. 9 11:10 A.M. UPDATE RTC drivers have walked off the job for a third time in four months, striking against RTC bus operator Keolis.

Keolis had offered the union workers a 4 percent pay raise over each of the next three years. Teamsters Local 533 says about 90 percent of its members voted against the deal, and they are five percent apart on wages and even further apart on retirement benefits.

RTC Washoe says there are contingency plans in place for riders.

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