AVTA strike averted, for now

LANCASTER – The Antelope Valley Transit Authority has been given a reprieve from the threat of a strike, according to a news release issued by AVTA Wednesday afternoon.

The Teamsters Local 848 has agreed to delay a work stoppage until after bargaining units meet on May 7.  Union Representative Eric Tate met with the President of Veolia Transportation Wednesday and agreed to delay the strike until after their next meeting.

“This is very good news,” stated AVTA Executive Director Julie Austin.  “Our first priority is the customers and maintaining a reliable transit service. We are encouraged there is willingness on both sides to negotiate a contract that is amenable to both parties and could ultimately help to avert a transportation crisis.”

If bargaining units do not reach an agreement during their next meeting, a work stoppage may be unavoidable.  Tate has agreed to provide Veolia with a 72-hour notice if the union intends to move forward with plans to strike after the May 7 meeting.  Wednesday’s agreement means AVTA customers will not face a strike before May 10.   This is not to say a strike will occur on May 10, but that it could occur any time after that date if a contract agreement is not reached.

Although the work stoppage has been delayed, the Antelope Valley Transit Authority remains vigilant in its efforts to develop a contingency plan should the Teamsters decide to strike.  AVTA’s contractor, Veolia Transportation, has already secured dozens of substitute coach operators who are available to assist in keeping AVTA buses on the street.

AVTA has been assured that all Commuter and Local Transit routes will continue to receive service in the event of a strike but with a reduced level of frequency.   Revised time schedules are being developed and will be released if and when the strike appears imminent.

AVTA has also secured commitments from both Metrolink and Santa Clarita Transit to accept a courtesy “Commuter Work Stoppage Pass”.  AVTA patrons must present their TAP card along with the pass in order to receive a courtesy trip.  The passes will only be valid during a work stoppage.

The “Commuter Work Stoppage Pass” is being distributed at the Palmdale Transportation Center during the morning commute hours.  Commuters may also request a pass at the Customer Service Lobby at our AVTA offices located at 42210 6th Street West in Lancaster.

Dial-a-Ride service, which focuses on the Antelope Valley’s most transit-dependent population, will not be impacted by a work stoppage since these services are provided by a different company.

AVTA will update its website (avta.com) and its commuter hotline (661-945-9445; extensions 785, 786, and 787) to reflect current service information.

(Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Transit Authority.)

See previous related stories:

AVTA creates contingency plan in case of strike

Possible AVTA work stoppage