March 4, 2009 
NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release                            
CONTACT:
Steven Brown
Director of Planning and Marketing
(805) 483-3959, ext 116

Gold Coast Transit Announces Contract Agreement with Bus Operators

OXNARD, CA. --- Gold Coast Transit (GCT), is pleased to announce that today the GCT Board of Directors approved a contract with GCT’s Bus Operators Unit, represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 721.  The contract provides a wage increase of almost 10% over the two years covered by the contract and a medical benefit contribution increase totaling almost 12% over those two years.  The contract agreement and subsequent signing of the contract by all parties will avert a possible strike by GCT bus operators.  The contract is retroactive to November 1, 2008 which is when the previous contract expired.

The SEIU Bus Operators Unit had rejected a contract offer on January 22, 2009.   On January 27th, a strike planning meeting was held, with the majority of the members voting to authorize a strike, should contract talks break down.  The primary point of contention was the use of security system video, audio and GPS data as corroborating evidence for rule violations, including reports of dangerous driving, discourtesy to passengers and buses running off route or ahead of schedule.

GCT management has implemented an internal policy defining and limiting how and when security camera evidence may be used; however, the bus operators Unit took the position that security camera evidence, when available, should not be used to hold bus operators accountable for their actions.  The final contract agreement clarifies when and how the security camera evidence can be used and who will have access to the evidence.

GCT offered a similar contract to its Mechanics Unit and Administrative Support Unit in December 2008, and those employees voted to accept the contract.

“We are pleased that an agreement has been reached and that our bus operators will be able to take advantage of the salary and benefit enhancements.  Our operators, maintenance and administrative staff work hard to provide bus service to our riders, many of whom are transit dependent and cannot get to work, school, medical care and shopping without GCT bus service,” said Deborah Linehan, GCT General Manager.

Gold Coast Transit is a joint powers authority providing local bus service to Oxnard, Ventura, Port Hueneme, Ojai and the unincorporated areas of Western Ventura County.  GCT transports over 11,500 passengers each weekday, with 3.5 million trips in 2007-2008. 

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