Middletown school bus strike postponed


MIDDLETOWN – The threat of a strike by school bus drivers and mechanics in the Middletown Enlarged City School District has been postponed until the end of April at the earliest.
A federal mediator assigned to the negotiations asked that of Teamsters
Local 445, which represents the workers of Mid-City Transit, the company
that provides the pupil transportation for the district. “We made
significant progress during negotiations Tuesday night,” said Teamsters’
representative Jerry Ebert.
He said the biggest obstacles to an agreement were pay raises, and the amount of money full-time employees were required to contribute to a medical plan.
The bus company, meanwhile, said the union has been conducting a “deliberate
campaign of misinformation, and repeated irresponsible threats to disrupt
school bus service for thousands of Middletown families.”
Spokeswoman Lynette Viviani said while the union’s claim to want “decent wages and a fair contract,” their demands “are anything but reasonable.” She said between 2010 and 2015, drivers received annual wage increase ranging from 2.3 percent to 3.3 percent. Mid-City’s current offer includes wage increases of three percent per year for five years, she said. With step schedule progression, the increases will average 3.8 percent in year-one and 4.3 percent in year-two, plus retro pay back to September 2015, in addition to maintaining all other benefits at current levels, Viviani said.
She said the union’s current economic proposal calls for a 60 percent increase in wages and benefits, “which is in stark contrast to settlements recently reached with other unions in the area.” Viviani said the Middletown Teachers Association contract calls for a 1.2 percent increase for 2015/16 and two percent in 2016/17, and Middletown city police officers received increases of 2.5 percent this year and 2.75 percent next year.

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