**This page will be updated as more information becomes available**
Who is striking?
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 (ATU), the union that represents Milwaukee County Transit Bus drivers and mechanics.
Why is the union striking?
The average MCTS bus driver will make more than $62,000 this year in salary and overtime. Drivers have an important and challenging job and MCTS believes they should be fairly compensated for that job.
The proposed contract from MCTS included wage increases of up to 7.6% over two years and concessions around health care costs and part-time drivers.
Despite numerous recent statements from union leaders that their contract dispute was not over money, the union came to the bargaining table to ask for $8 million in increased wages over two years. That is something MCTS cannot afford if we want to continue to keep fares flat and buses running.
MCTS countered the union’s extra $8 million increase with $650,000 worth of improved benefits and more concessions on some non-fiscal issues (on top of the 7.6% increase). The union did not respond to that offer, instead they called for this strike.
How long will the strike last?
The union says they plan to return to work on Saturday, July 4, 2015.
MCTS is planning to be able to restart service on the 4th; however, the union may decide to simply walk away again in the near future.
From our perspective we are continuing to work hard to get to a new contract that is fair to drivers and also assures that the community has a sustainable transit system for years to come.
What MCTS service is being affected?
All MCTS service, including Route 143 that serves Ozaukee County and Routes 6, 61 & 279 that serve Waukesha and Washington counties, has been suspended until further notice.
Will I get reimbursed if I have a weekly or monthly pass?
Yes, MCTS will issue reimbursements once the strike is over. We will share more details about how that process will work after the strike ends.
What is this I keep seeing online that drivers can’t use the bathroom?
That’s a great question. It caught us by surprise as well and we work here!
So what’s the answer?
The answer is simple; of course drivers can use the bathroom.
But I heard they only have four minutes to use the bathroom.
Also not true. The union contract states that the minimum amount of time a driver receives at a layover is four minutes (years ago it was three minutes). There is no proposed change in the contract. The length of the layover is typically negotiated between management and the union at major transit systems.
If four minutes is the minimum, what’s the maximum?
There is no maximum in the contract, but the current schedule has layovers lasting from four minutes to 20 minutes. The average layover across all of our routes is 7.3 minutes.
So drivers only get seven minutes a day to use the bathroom?
Every time a driver gets to a layover they get a break, it could be four minutes, it could be 20 minutes, or it could be somewhere in between (again, the average is 7.3 minutes).
Drivers reach layovers every time they hit the end of their route and turn around. Meaning on a driver’s average shift he/she will have multiple layovers (many times 2 to 3 per hour) and multiple opportunities to use the bathroom.
But what if they have to go before they reach their layover?
Good question. The past, current and future policy is simple. If a driver has to go to the bathroom he/she should safely pull the bus over, find a public bathroom and use it.
The only thing we ask is for drivers to notify dispatch to let them know the bus might be running a little bit late.
But someone on Facebook said drivers don’t get to use the bathroom?
People say a lot of things on Facebook J
For the detailed answer, please see the questions and answers above; but simply put, yes, all drivers get to use the bathroom anytime they need it.
MCTS cares greatly about the safety and well-being of all of our passengers and employees.
Who is being impacted by the union decision to strike?
The union’s decision means tens of thousands of people who rely on MCTS to get to work, school and doctor’s appointments every day will have to find other transportation. The strike will also shut down Summerfest service that tens of thousands of people rely on every day to get to the Big Gig.
Does MCTS support the strike?
MCTS respects the union's right to strike, but encourages union leaders to change their mind about this strike and come back to work sooner.
¿Quién está golpeando?
La Amalgamated Tránsito Unión Local 998 (ATU), el sindicato que representa a los conductores de autobuses de Tránsito del Condado de Milwaukee y los mecánicos.
¿Qué servicio MCTS está siendo afectado?
Todos los servicios de MCTS, incluyendo la Ruta 143 que sirve el condado Ozaukee y Rutas 6, 61 y 279 que sirven los condados de Waukesha y Washington, ha sido suspendido hasta nuevo aviso.
¿Quién está siendo afectado por la decisión sindical de huelga?
La decisión de la unión significa decenas de miles de personas que dependen de MCTS para ir al trabajo, la escuela y el médico de citas cada día tendrá que encontrar otros medios de transporte. La huelga también se apagará servicio Summerfest que decenas de miles de personas confían cada día para llegar a la gran actuación.
¿Apoya MCTS la huelga?
MCTS respeta el derecho del sindicato a la huelga, pero alienta a los líderes sindicales a cambiar de opinión acerca de esta huelga y volver a trabajar cuanto antes.
¿Voy a obtener un reembolso si tengo un pase semanal o mensual?
Sí, MCTS emitirá reembolsos una vez que la huelga ha terminado. Compartiremos más detalles acerca de cómo ese proceso va a funcionar después de que termine la huelga.