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Santa Ana

November 11, 1998|Megan Garvey, (714) 966-7700

After a cordial meeting Tuesday with leaders representing the bus mechanics union, Orange County transit officials in Santa Ana said they are very hopeful a strike can be averted.

More than 200 bus mechanics, members of a local Teamsters union, had threatened to strike as early as Thursday if demands for increased retirement benefits were not addressed. Retirees from the transit agency are entitled to about half the supplemental monthly payment allowed Orange County government retirees.

OCTA officials said they are willing to take a closer look at increasing monthly retirement payments not only for the mechanics but for other affected transit employees, said John Standiford, a spokesman for the transit agency.

A strike could cripple bus service countywide. On Monday, transit officials began distributing fliers to commuters warning that nearly half of the county's 72 bus lines could be out of service Thursday if the dispute is not resolved.

A strike, however, now appears unlikely, said Standiford.

Bus mechanics vote today on the collective bargaining agreement. The contract was narrowly rejected by members in an initial vote last week.

If bus mechanics reject the current contract, it would mark the first time in 12 years transit employees walked off the job.

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