A breakdown in negotiations between approximately 40 Community Action Rural Transit System workers and the Community Action Agency resulted in a strike notice with workers expecting to start picketing as soon as Thursday.
A strike could have a huge impact on those who use the Lisbon-based transportation system.
Kendra Hersman, a CAA receptionist, relies on the agency to get to her job every day.
“I would have to rely on my parents to take me to and from work and sometimes that isn’t feasible,” said Hersman.
Last Thursday, CARTS workers voted down an offer from the CAA board. Both sides were unable to reach an agreement on wages. The board offered a $1-per-hour raise over the three-year contract.
“We think in today’s economy, considering the labor market around here, that’s a very fair and generous offer,” said CAA Director Carol Bretz.
United Steelworkers District Representative Joe Holcomb said the drivers deserve more and are willing to negotiate with the board to find a solution.
“All they want is 50 cents in the first year, and we can work on the other two years,” said Holcomb. “Everyone else had that done until the company decided to change direction.”
CAA Transportation Director Quinten Melius said if a strike happens, they will hire replacement workers and non-union workers will handle dialysis and nutrition services.
Other users will be notified by phone the night before to let them know if transportation will be provided the next day. As replacement drivers are placed, officials said the schedule will open to all users of the system.