Countywide : Drivers' Union Officials Win Unpaid Leaves

The union representing the county Transit District's 730 bus drivers won a court order Wednesday granting unpaid leaves of absence to more than a dozen union officials battling a takeover bid by the Teamsters.

The district argued unsuccessfully that the number of persons seeking leaves of absence was unreasonable.

Superior Court Commissioner Ronald L. Bauer granted the Tustin-based United Transportation Union Local 19 a temporary restraining order forcing OCTD to approve leaves of absence for 12 to 18 United Transportation officials and members. But he rejected the union's argument that restraining orders were needed to prevent district harassment of United Transportation members or district favoritism toward the efforts of the Long Beach-based Teamsters Union Local 911 to oust United Transportation as the bus drivers' bargaining agent.

The drivers are scheduled to choose which union will represent them on Feb. 20.

The Teamsters mounted the challenge after a United Transportation strike, called just before Christmas, ended unsuccessfully.

Drivers have been working under a district-imposed contract since the strike ended.

Officials of the Transit District and the unions could not be reached for comment after the court hearing Wednesday.

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