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Columbus Transit Workers Reject Contract

Members of the Transport Workers Union voted 337 to 50 Sunday night to reject a proposed wage and benefit agreement with the Central Ohio Transit Authority. The vote comes after more than a year of bargaining and raises the possibility of a transit strike.

As drivers, mechanics and maintenance workers exited a closed-door union meeting on the city's west side, few were smiling. Longtime driver Georgia Manley voted against the proposed three year deal saying she'd lose nearly 61-hundred dollars annually in take home pay.

The proposed contract calls for a lump sum payment of 800 dollars as a signing bonus, a two percent pay increase effective December 1st, 2006 and another two percent increase in December of 2007. For the first time, Union members would also be required to pay some of their health care costs. Mechanic James Love says the net effect would be less money in his pocket.

Members of the Transport Workers Union earlier gave their leaders authority to call a strike. That would require a ten day notice.