Contract talks: Bus driver's union, Milwaukee County make progress toward four-year agreement

MILWAUKEE COUNTY -- It appears the bus driver's union and Milwaukee County are indeed working closer to a new contract for the drivers.

On Thursday afternoon, July 30th, the Milwaukee County Transit System and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 said in a joint statement that progress was made toward a four-year agreement.

MCTS indicated it presented a comprehensive proposal which the union will be reviewing and considering. The parties will resume negotiations with the assistance of the Federal Mediator on Monday, August 10th in an effort to reach an agreement.

That development could quash talk of binding arbitration for which the union has expressed support.

"If you so sure this is a great contract, do what everyone else does in the world.  Go to court and battle it out.  Let the judge make a decision," said James Macon, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 998.

Meanwhile, MCTS indicates that strategy puts passengers at risk.

"We can't afford let some third party, we don't know how they're going to make their decision force us to cut routes or raise fares.  It's not just fair to the passengers," said Brendan Conway, MCTS Director of Communications.

In early July, the bus driver's union went on strike for three days -- disrupting service in the middle of Summerfest.

Union leaders say they are prepared to go on strike again.

Again, both MCTS and ATU have agreed they will not publicly discuss this matter or details until after the meeting on August 10th.