No deal reached in PARTA strike

Stacey Carmany

Negotiators for the Ohio Association of Pulic School Employees Local 037 and the Portage Area Regional Transit Authority were unable to reach an agreement during negotiations Friday.

PARTA and the union exchanged proposals in Independence, upon the request of a federal mediator, in an attempt to get the striking drivers back to work. The drivers have been on strike since Aug. 25.

The parties have been at odds over fair share, a contractual provision that would require non-union drivers to pay fees to the union.

Negotiators for OAPSE Local 037 have refused to accept any proposed contract that doesn’t include fair share or modified fair share.

PARTA has continued to oppose the provision.

According to Trina Molnar, field representative for OAPSE Local 037, PARTA presented the union with a one-time signing bonus “upon member ratification by a specific date.” The bonus was $575 for each full-time driver and $275 for each part-time driver.

The union offered PARTA three fair share language options, Molnar said. Option one was full fair share. Option two was a modified form of fair share in which employees would be “grandfathered in.” All current drivers not wishing to join the union would not be subject to fair share for their uninterruped service at PARTA. Drivers hired after the ratification of the contract would be required to pay.

Under the third option, non-union drivers would pay fair share only when union membership reaches 70 percent of the bargaining unit employees.

“Basically, we gave PARTA multiple options to choose from in order to come to an agreement and put their employees back to work and off the strike line,” Molnar said.

“PARTA declined and would not accept once again any proposal regarding the fair share issue, keeping the employees out on the strike line for the 39th consecutive day over an item that does not cost PARTA, not the taxpayer, a single dime.”

Contact transportation reporter Stacey Carmany at [email protected].