News

No Progress Reported in Month-Long Bus Drivers Strike in Santa Clarita

No Progress Reported in Month-Long Bus Drivers Strike in Santa Clarita

A Santa Clarita Transit bus in a file photo. (Courtesy of the City of Santa Clarita)

City News Service

City News Service

11/15/2023

Updated: 11/15/2023

SANTA CLARITA, Calif.—No progress has been reported in the bus drivers strike in Santa Clarita, which is in its 38th day Nov. 15.
Emergency transit service has been in place since the strike started and limited routes are in use, but negotiations between the drivers union and Santa Clarita Transit are not progressing.
The limited bus service in Santa Clarita that has been in use since the bus drivers strike began five weeks ago was updated last week and a new schedule has been in use since. The new schedule was introduced for the five local routes that are in use for emergency transit service.
A lack of available bus drivers led to the suspension of all services in Santa Clarita during the weekends.
The bus drivers for Santa Clarita Transit began striking on Oct. 9, 38 days ago. MV Transportation, which contracts with Santa Clarita Transit to provide bus service for Santa Clarita, began suspending routes and canceling some services when the strike started.
Limited service is being offered, with school routes, Dial A Ride, and some local routes in operation on an emergency basis.
Two emergency transit service routes were added Oct. 17, bringing five limited emergency routes, six limited school tripper routes, and Dial A Ride and Access service in operation Monday through Friday.
The emergency routes are in operation from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Santa Clarita Transit secured a temporary emergency contract with Transit Systems to provide emergency bus service during the strike between the union representing drivers and MV Transportation.
The emergency contract with Transit Systems began providing limited, fare-free bus service for local and school tripper routes on Oct. 10.
No commuter services are being provided during the strike.
Lourdes Garcia, president of Local 572, said the union is seeking a 9 percent pay increase for 2022, an 8 percent increase for 2023, and an 8 percent increase for 2024, according to media reports.
MV Transportation is reportedly offering $19.75 per hour to start, with a 25-cent increase after one year, 10 10-cent increase after two years, 10 10-cent increase after three years, 15 15-cent increase after four years, and 75-cent increase after five years.
The strike halted service for hundreds of students and passengers in the city.
Santa Clarita Transit posted on its website that service was suspended on all commuter and local routes when the strike started. A driver shortage forced Santa Clarita Transit to suspend all bus service on Oct. 9.
The strike interrupted bus service for students in the William S. Hart Union High School District and passengers throughout the city.
The city of Santa Clarita partners with MV Transportation for bus services. The union voted to authorize a strike on Sept. 15. The city of Santa Clarita is not a participant in the labor dispute, MV Transportation said in a statement.
The union notified Santa Clarita Transit on Sept. 28 of the decision to halt work, but delayed going on strike for a week.
City officials are encouraging both sides to continue negotiations and bargain in good faith until an agreement is reached.
Santa Clarita Transit provides a school tripper service for students in the Hart district who attend La Mesa Junior High School, Castaic High School, Rancho Pico Junior High School, Saugus High School, and Arroyo Seco Junior High School.
The Hart district posted on its website for those who use Santa Clarita Transit services to make alternate plans for transportation to schools. The district’s yellow bus service for special needs students will not be interrupted, according to the district.
“No other local, tripper, or commuter routes can be served at this time. However, the city continues efforts to increase service levels,” the site reads. “The city is also coordinating with the Hart district to cover service gaps.”
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