AVTA strike update: Tentative agreement reached

LANCASTER – Service provider Veolia Transportation announced Tuesday that the company has reached a tentative agreement with drivers who operate service for Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA).

Teamsters Local 848 members will vote on the agreement on Saturday, May 12, 2012. If approved, there will be no threat of a strike.

The two sides have been in negotiations since last summer.

Although details of the agreement will not be made available until after the membership vote, Veolia’s Regional Vice President Ron Bushman stated in a news release, “both sides worked hard to reach an agreement that is fair to everyone, and we’re looking forward to the results of the membership vote.”

AVTA officials expressed similar sentiments.

“We are extremely relieved to hear that a contract has been negotiated that the union is willing to bring to its members,” stated AVTA Executive Director Julie Austin in a news release. “We look forward to putting this near-crisis behind us and to focusing exclusively on providing reliable transportation to residents of the Antelope Valley.”

The AVTA provides more than three million rides annually serving 11 local routes and three commuter routes.  Its Local Transit service encompasses 100 square miles of the High Desert reaching as far east as Lake Los Angeles.  The AVTA is governed through a Joint Powers Agreement between the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale along with Los Angeles County.

Veolia Transportation, under contract to AVTA, operates 11 fixed routes and 3 commuter routes, and employs 160 drivers and staff.

AVTA will continue to update its website (avta.com) and commuter hotline (661-945-9445; extensions 785, 786, and 787) with details of the ongoing negotiations.

See previous related stories:

AVTA strike averted, for now

AVTA creates contingency plan in case of strike

Possible AVTA work stoppage