Employee strike briefly disrupts Foothill Transit bus schedule

Bus lines across the Pomona Valley were disrupted for hours Monday morning as Foothill Transit maintenance workers briefly went on strike.

Nineteen of the 39 total bus lines on the expansive system were halted when the strike took place at midnight, according to Foothill Transit spokeswoman Felicia Friesema.

The stoppage commenced when the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1756 (ATU), which represents the line’s maintenance workers, failed to reach a contract deal with Keolis Transit Services, which took over operations of the facility in July, Ms. Friesema said.

According to ATU President Richard Conell, the impasse happened when the union could not negotiate a deal.

“The local wants a two-year contract ending in 2019, so the members can come back after two years and renegotiate, while Keolis wants them to sign a contract through 2021,” Mr. Conell said.

In all, roughly 12,000 riders were affected by the work stoppage, Ms. Friesema said.

“The bus operators were represented by a different union who opted to honor the picket line, which meant we had no drivers,” she added.

Claremont lines that were affected were the 197 from Pomona to Claremont via Orange Grove Avenue, the 292 From Claremont to Pomona via Towne Avenue, as well as a number of other nearby lines.

The strike ended at 10:34 a.m. Monday morning when a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was reached with Keolis and ATU, Ms. Friesema said. After the required safety checks and inspections, the first buses went out at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

Service was fully restored by 4 a.m. Tuesday, Ms. Friesema said. Now that the MOU is signed, Mr. Conell indicated that negotiations are still underway to create a workable contract.

“We are back at the table with Keolis working to finalize the terms of the contract that recognizes the hard work of our members,” Mr. Conell said. “We hope to have a final contract soon.”

—Matthew Bramlett



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