Strike averted for now for Metro bus drivers

Posted at 11:03 AM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 11:03:32-05

CINCINNATI - A tentative contract agreement has been reached between leaders at Metro and the union that represents hundreds of bus drivers.

Officials with Metro and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 627 met Wednesday with the hope of negotiating final terms of a new three-year contract.

The union’s contract with Metro expired Oct. 31 with the two sides unable to make a deal on final terms involving the use of new smaller buses on certain city routes. If an agreement couldn't be made Wednesday, the union was expected to hold a vote Thursday to authorize a strike of its 700 bus drivers and mechanics.

The threat of a strike -- which would have put the breaks on nearly 60,000 bus rides a day -- appears to be on-hold for now.

"A tentative agreement was reached on a new contract and the union (membership) will be considering it sometime in the near future," said Sallie Hilvers, a spokeswoman with Metro.

Hilvers declined to share details of the agreement. Leaders with the union could not be reached for comment.

The contract clash comes at a critical time for Metro.

The transit group is considering how to best expand and whether floating a vote for a tax levy is prudent. A vote to authorize a strike would have indefinitely delayed decision-making on that front and left tens of thousands of area residents stranded until bus service resumed.

WCPO will update this story as more details become available.