By Moriah Balingit
Aug 8, 2011 – Drivers, mechanics and service workers with the Beaver County Transit Authority voted to strike Sunday shortly after overwhelmingly rejecting a proposed contract that they felt did not sufficiently address their issues with forced overtime.
The 50 or so workers, represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1743, will not walk out on the job until they get authorization from the union’s international heads and then will face a waiting period, said Local 1743 President Diane Stambaugh.
Ms. Stambaugh said the Beaver Authority forces drivers to stay on beyond their scheduled shifts regularly and disciplines them if they refuse. Under the proposed contract, employees would be allowed to refuse two forced overtime shifts, a quarter and would have disciplinary marks removed from their records after 33 months instead of 36 months.
Drivers, she said, "have no life."
"They can’t make plans to do anything," she said.
Employees want more flexibility to refuse overtime and want less stringent penalties when they do, Ms. Stambaugh said, adding that she believes the authority relies too much on forced overtime when it needs to hire more drivers.
"If they would hire more people, we wouldn’t have this [overtime] problem," she said.
The union’s contract expired Dec. 31.
Officials with the Beaver County Transit Authority could not be reached for comment.