Lake County's transit agency is preparing for a two-day strike next week after the contractor that runs the public transportation system failed to reach agreement with bus drivers, dispatchers and mechanics on a new labor contract.
Teamsters Local 665, representing approximately 36 employees, announced its members intend to strike Monday and Tuesday, then return to work on Wednesday.
The action comes after the employees met and failed to ratify a new, three-year contract with Paratransit Services Inc., the Bremerton, Wash.-based nonprofit that has operated the system since 2007.
Among other differences, the Teamsters were seeking an 8 percent wage increase in the coming fiscal year, but Paratransit was offering 2 percent, according to Mark Wall, Lake Transit Authority's general manager.
Workers say they make considerably less than drivers in surrounding counties. But Wall said said the transit company is limited by the Consumer Price Index as far wage increases it provides its employees.
The system has 400,000 passenger boardings annually, according to Wall.
Paratransit is planning to use a combination of supervisors and other bus drivers to operate a skeleton transit service during the planned strike.
More information on the routes and service is available at www.laketransit.org or by calling 994-3334.