News Brief

Staving off a strike that could have crippled Downtown public transportation, First Transit - the private company that contracts with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to hire Downtown DASH bus drivers - and the bus drivers' union agreed on June 5 to a new five-year contract. The Teamsters Local 572, which represents 120 Downtown DASH drivers, planned to go on strike on June 2, but opted to return to the bargaining table this week, with Julie Gutman, a labor advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, serving as a third-party negotiator, said Emma Soichet, a spokesperson for the mayor. "She essentially came and said 'Let's come back to the table,' and they agreed to not strike," Soichet said. The last extension of the drivers' deal expired on May 30. Terms of the new contract were not disclosed at press time, but they include wage increases and improved benefits, Soichet said.

page 2, 6/9/2008

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