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Santa Clarita bus strike ends with new contract

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CBS News Los Angeles Live

Santa Clarita Transit buses were rolling again Monday, with a new contract bringing an end to a strike that halted local, school and commuter service.

Teamster-represented bus drivers, dispatchers, ambassadors and customer service representatives employed by MV Transportation overwhelmingly approved a new contract Sunday, prompting Santa Clarita Transit to announce service resuming. Buses began rolling at 4:30 a.m. Monday.

The members approved a pact with "significant wage increases, as well as increases to the training premium, while protecting health coverage without additional out-of-pocket expenses," according to Barbara Maynard of Teamsters Local 572.

"We want to thank the Santa Clarita community for your support and patience during this fight," said Joseph Norwood, a 19-year bus driver employee by MV Transportation. "Many of you joined us on the picket line morning, noon, and night and your solidarity has meant the world to us. We were stronger because of you and look forward to seeing you back on our routes Monday morning."

"The entire Teamster family is proud of the sacrifices members have made -- including striking during the Thanksgiving holiday-- to secure a fair contract for their families," said Lourdes Garcia, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 572.

The drivers, dispatchers and customer service representatives employed by MV Transportation in Santa Clarita went on strike Oct. 9.

Santa Clarita Transit contracts with MV Transportation and was left to operate on a limited schedule with five local routes and school routes Monday through Friday. Dial-A-Ride and Access service for special needs riders was eventually expanded, but still operated on a limited basis.

The lack of available bus drivers led to suspension of all service in Santa Clarita during the weekends.

The union sought a 9% pay increase for 2022, an 8% increase for 2023 and an 8% increase for 2024, according to media reports.

MV Transportation reportedly offered $19.75 per hour to start, with a 25-cent increase after one year, 10-cent increase after two years, 10-cent increase after three years, 15-cent increase after four years and 75-cent increase after five years.

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