The Orange County Transit Authority, also known as OCTA, and the Teamsters, the union that represents bus drivers, reached a tentative agreement on Tuesday morning, averting a strike that would have disrupted service on the main connection bus to campus.
According to an OCTA press release, representatives of OCTA and local Teamsters met over the weekend to avoid a strike. The tentative agreement was reached after a 9 p.m. bargaining session. Since negotiations began more than a year ago, the groups have met more than 40 times.
Later this week, members of Teamsters Local Lodge 952 will vote on whether the new contract should be ratified. The results of the vote are expected to be announced on Monday.
Details of the contract will be made public once the contract has been approved by union members and the agency’s board. The contract, if approved, would run until April 2024.
During the negotiation, Teamsters leaders raised issues of human dignity, such as regular breaks for drivers to eat meals and use the restroom. Eric Jiminez, a Teamsters representative, said many drivers could no longer afford to live in Orange County and had to commute from the Inland Empire due to low wages.
State mediators were brought in over the weekend and again on Monday to help with the negotiation.
The strike would have interrupted service for approximately 75% of ridership in Orange County. This includes service for OCTA Route 57, which is the main bus connection to Cal State Fullerton and stops at State College Boulevard at Commonwealth and Nutwood Avenues. The other two OCTA routes that serve CSUF, Routes 26 and 153, would have remained in service.
“We are very pleased that both parties have worked together in good faith to find a solution and avoid any disruption for those who rely on OC buses,” said Mark A. Murray, President of OCTA.