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San Gabriel Valley

Bus Drivers to Vote Today on Whether to End Strike

March 05, 1996

More than 100 bus drivers for Foothill Transit, the county's second-largest bus operator, will vote today on an ultimatum by their employer to end a 12-day-old strike over wages and health benefits or be fired.

Teamsters Union Local 848 officials, who represent the drivers, called the meeting after receiving the message from Laidlaw Transit Services, which operates the blue and white Foothill buses in the San Gabriel Valley, that replacement drivers would be hired.

Union workers have been picketing Upland-based Laidlaw, which contracts its services to West Covina-based Foothill Transit, since Feb 22.

"The company issued an ultimatum: Go back to work by March 6 or we'll replace you," said Lou Ippolito, Local 848 business manager.

Laidlaw officials said they had made striking drivers their final offer and are training replacements. Once those replacement drivers begin work, Laidlaw officials said they cannot guarantee that striking drivers will have jobs.

Laidlaw has offered union drivers a one-year contract with a 3% pay increase.

But Foothill drivers--most of whom are paid between $8 and $10 an hour compared to $15 for an MTA bus driver--want paid health benefits and a 50-cents-an-hour increase, Ippolito said.

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