Cap Metro Workers On Strike
Photos from this morning's picket line
By Lee Nichols,
8:30AM, Wed. Nov. 5, 2008
While other Democrats were downstairs partying in celebration of Barack Obama's presidential win Tuesday night, City Council Member Mike Martinez was ensconced in a fifth-floor room of the Driskill Hotel working the phone, desperately trying to avert a strike by Capital Metro's workers.
But his efforts to intervene in the dispute between Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1091 and StarTran, the contractor that actually hires the workers, ultimately failed, and this morning the transit agency's drivers and maintenance workers hit the picket lines. (Click on pic at right to open image gallery of the strike.)
Bus service continues this morning, but on a greatly reduced schedule, and only on Cap Metro's most-used routes. See Cap Metro's website for route info.
"It's not something we want," said Cap Metro employee David Bowen outside Cap Metro headquarters this morning. "But apparently Cap Metro wants a strike, and they got it. We had a reasonable proposal on the table by Martinez and McCracken. We had it. The only reason we can assume they didn’t respond to it or didn’t agree to it was because of the audit." (Martinez's proposal called for an audit of Cap Metro's finances.)
"I paid up my bills, and I’m in for the long haul," said Bowen, a bus driver for 32 years, when asked how he and his family would cope. "We’re not going to eat as good as we’re accustomed. Beans, tortillas, whatever it takes to survive through it. Just going to try to stay afloat.
"Everyone that got on my bus yesterday said, ‘We’re behind you, thank you,'" Bowen said.