Dayton city officials hope RTA strike will be avoided

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - The Greater Dayton RTA and its union employees have four days to reach a new contract deal.

If they don't, the drivers and mechanics say they'll go on strike. It's a move that would impact thousands of people who rely on rides daily.

2NEWS spoke with Dayton mayor Nan Whaley following Wednesday night's city commission meeting. She's hopeful a strike can be avoided and says the city is willing to help get this resolved.

"I've said, you know, we need to get this solved before Monday. I think that's the priority," Mayor Whaley said.

She's well aware of the impact her city faces should all the RTA buses be parked, because of a strike.

"We're talking about children who use the bus to go to school, families to get to work, seniors to get to their doctors appointments," she said.

According to RTA, it transports roughly 30,000 people every day. Many of them, high schoolers at Dayton Public Schools.

They'll all have to find another way to beat the bell, if a contract deal isn't made between RTA and its union employees before January 9th.

Dayton Public School administrators say they don't have the resources to provide transportation if there is a strike and RTA says it will only run medically necessary trips for certified "Project Mobility" customers.

"Even though we have no authority, we know how important it is to the community. So we are actively engaged in it," Mayor Whaley said.

She and her staff are encouraging both sides to meet and make up so citizens don't suffer.

"This is a key service for our community and we really want to see resolution on the other side," she said.

The RTA and the union are at odds over pay and health care costs.

If needed, some non-union employees will be trained to drive RTA buses for riders who qualify with Project Mobility.

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