GRAND JUNCTION, Colo - Workers at Grand Valley Transit unanimously voted to authorize a strike.
Many bus operators are frustrated by a proposal they say keeps them among the lowest paid bus drivers in America.
The GVT workers union, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1776, has been in negotiations with GVT's private contractor, Transdev, since this past fall.
Currently, all drivers must have a commercial drivers license and are paid $11.25 per hour after their first year on the job. The hourly rate after five years is a maximum of $13.65.
Union representatives say bus operators at the nearby Roaring Forks Transit Authority start at more than $20 per hour.
GVT workers are requesting a starting wage of $15 and health care they can afford on that pay scale.
GVTand the Grand Valley Regional Transportation Committee says they have no involvement in what workers are paid -- as transdev does their negotiations.
The strike, although approved by unanimous vote, will not disrupt service immediately. There are no planned meetings or negotiations between ATU Local 1776 and Transdev.