Paratransit workers OK strike

Sequim Gazette

Paratransit workers unanimously authorized a strike Monday if a suitable contract can’t be negotiated.

The two sides are scheduled to meet next on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 11-12.

“We have 28 members and all were there except for one person out in Forks and another who was sick and the entire membership voted yes to strike,” said Paul Bachtel, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, following Monday’s strike vote.

The union’s Local 587 represents employees for both Clallam Transit System and Clallam Paratransit, which is part of Paratransit Services Inc. of Bremerton.

“We go back to bargaining on Monday and Tuesday so we’ll take the strike vote back and say it’s time to take this seriously,” he said.

Then union leaders will meet with their membership and Tuesday, Jan. 12 and see where they go from there, Bachtel said.

The strike authorization still must be approved by the union’s international vice president but that should be just a formality, he said.

Bachtel has said if Clallam Paratransit workers strike, riders needing critical medical treatments still will be served.

The union seeks a 3-percent across-the-board pay increase and step pay raises like those given to Clallam Transit workers.

The union represents transit workers in Jefferson, Clallam and King counties and the last strike was by King County’s Metro Transit in 1977.

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