Fresno

Fresno bus drivers preparing for possible strike

Fresno city leaders could soon have a major strike on their hands bringing things literally to a screeching halt. 

After reportedly rejecting the city’s proposed labor agreement last week, union leaders for the Fresno Area Express told reporters that the union approved a strike. 

However, while approved, a potential strike is not set in stone yet. 

“At this moment, passengers don’t have to worry about the bus not showing up,” ATU Local 1027 president Luis Alcazar-Montoya told McClatchy. “We don’t want to scare the public.” 

The lack of a contract for bus drivers is the latest labor dispute facing the city over the last couple years. 

In January, the city wrapped up a seven-month dispute with the Fresno Police Officers’ Association and is in negotiations with the firefighters’ union, among other city employees. 

FAX bus drivers have been working without a contract since the fall of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the two sides’ inability to come to a deal and the declaration of an impasse. 

One of the major sticking points has been the issue of overtime. 

Currently, city bus drivers operate with daily overtime. 

But the city is proposing a shift to the contract to be in line with the Fair Labor Standards Act, making it so overtime hits once a driver works 40 hours in a week. 

According to a report from the publication, city bus drivers currently can work a 12-hour day and return the next day for a 15-hour shift. Overtime pay kicks in after the eight-hour mark in each shift. 

With the intense schedule leading to drivers leading, the city is dealing with over 30 vacancies in FAX workers and canceled routes. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.