Bus driver union negotiations continue after contract rejected

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Teamsters Local 533 President Gary Watson says talks will resume on July 26th to settle a new contract with MV Transit, the company that provides drivers, dispatchers, mechanics and support workers for the RTC bus system.

Friday night, the union membership rejected the latest contract proposal. The union has already authorized a strike, but has not decided yet if workers will walk off the job. Watson tells KOLO 8 News Now, the possibility still exists that the union could go out on strike before the next round of negotiations.

"One of the major contract sticking points is the onerous two-tiered wage system which creates second-class employees," Watson said. A news release from the Union says senior drivers earn about $21 per hour plus benefits including health care, but new drivers earn only minimum wage during training before starting at $12 per hour.

MV Transportation representative, Nikki Frenney-Wiggins, released a statement that the new talks, "presents yet another opportunity for both MV and the union to come back to the table for further negotiations. In the meantime, MV will ensure that there are minimal service disruptions. Our goal is zero."

Watson says the Teamsters have filed an Unfair Labor Practices complaint against MV Transportation for bringing in replacement workers. Fenney has not confirmed to KOLO 8 News Now whether the replacement workers are currently in place driving RTC buses.