Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission’s (RTC) Executive Director Bill Thomas blasted the Teamsters Local 533 for going on strike yesterday. He said the reasons given for the third strike this year by the union make no sense and are harming the community.
He said RTC will ramp up its efforts to provide transportation to people unable to get bus rides during the strike.
“I know that people are frustrated with the RTC for not being able to prevent these strikes. As head of the RTC, it is frustrating for me, personally,” Thomas said. “However, the RTC is not a party to the negotiations between Teamsters and Keolis and we are not in control of whether or not people decide to work. These negotiations, by law, can only be between the Teamsters and Keolis.”
Yesterday Teamsters Executive Gary Watson said Keolis North America’s “best and final offer” fell short of what he said union members want. He said the offer by Keolis, a12% wage increase for employees over the next three years, falls short of the desired 6% per year for an 18% increase over three years.
“Teamsters’ representatives have accused Keolis of not coming to the bargaining table,” Thomas said today. “That is not true. It was Teamsters’ representatives that refused to bargain over wages and compensation last week. Instead, Teamsters’ representatives demanded Keolis’ best and final offer. After receiving that offer, the union never came back with a counteroffer, refused to engage in further mediation and instead called a third strike.”
Watson said RTC has the power to reinstate fines to Keolis for missed rides. Thomas said, however, RTC is following federal guidance for COVID-19 restrictions that are being followed by transit operations across the country.