Orange County bus strike averted before planned midnight shutdown

A blue and white bus on a road.
A bus strike was averted in Orange County after maintenance employees and the county agreed to further talks.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A strike that would have halted all bus service in Orange County on Monday morning was avoided late Sunday evening, thanks to a last-minute agreement between the Orange County Transportation Authority and the Teamsters Local 952.

Although the bus mechanics and the authority have not reached a deal on a new contract, negotiations will resume after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office intervened and asked for more talks, a labor leader said.

About 150 mechanics, service workers and machinists with the OCTA have been working under an expired contract since Sept. 30, according to Teamsters Local 952, which represents the striking workers. Negotiations began May 25, and the union has met with OCTA more than 20 times.

“We remain committed to doing what it takes to avoid a labor action that would disrupt transportation services for thousands of daily Orange County riders,” said Eric Jimenez, Local 952 Secretary-Treasurer, in a statement Wednesday. “However, we stand united with our members in the fight for a fair and equitable agreement.”


The union said it voted to strike Wednesday, after the Orange County Transportation Authority “refused to address key health and welfare issues” and offered a “substandard final contract offer.”

Union members are hoping for improved healthcare packages that would allow them to pay less out-of-pocket. Jimenez said some members pay $350 a month for healthcare and that OCTA’s proposal would increase their costs to $400 to $500 in the next two years or so.

In February, the union’s bus operators reached a three-year contract with OCTA .