Negotiations on behalf of about 200 CARTA bus drivers who have been working without a union contract this year will continue on June 7, officials said today.
Neither side would discuss the substance of the talks. The two sides met today.
“It’s still at that ‘It’s about everything’ stage,” said Valerie Michalel, Veolia Transportation director of corporate communications.
Veolia employs the drivers under a contract with the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 610 represents the drivers. Union President Herman Smith declined comment.
CARTA Board Chairman Elliott Summey said CARTA does not have a seat at the negotiating table because the situation is between Veolia and its drivers.
“Unfortunately, we ain’t got a dog in this fight other than if they don’t work it out,” he said.
Veolia has assured Summey that bus service would continue even if the talks broke down, he said.
“I’m going to make sure that our essential services are maintained. Those buses, if I’ve got anything to do with it, will continue to run,” Summey said.
Veolia operates bus systems across North America, including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, San Diego, Atlanta, Baltimore and Toronto.
In March, some 600 Phoenix bus drivers represented by ATU Local 1433 went on strike for about a week against Veolia. The two sides had been negotiating for more than a year. After the strike, a new contract was signed, the Associated Press reported.
In Phoenix, the two sides were haggling over wage and benefit terms such as sick-leave accrual, retirement benefits and health care coverage, the AP reported.
Over 80 percent of Veolia Transportation’s 18,000 employees are unionized. Veolia is the largest private sector provider of public transit services in the country.