Negotiations earlier this week between ATU and RTA did not result in agreement.
Both Salyer and RTA CEO Mark Donaghy said the union and RTA would meet Jan. 23 with a state mediator to discuss the dispute — more than three weeks after the potential strike start date.
Disagreement exists over who set the meeting date. RTA said the union proposed the Jan. 23 date with the mediator, but the union said that the Jan. 23 date was selected because the state-appointed mediator was unavailable until then.
Donald Collins, SERB general counsel, declined to comment on whether the mediator’s schedule determined the Jan. 23 date, but said “upon request from the parties, we will respond whenever.” He said the union is not required to strike on Jan. 1, but could re-file notice to strike at a later date.
State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, said the union should not strike before the Jan. 23 meeting.
“SERB is aware I feel strongly their mediator should be available as soon as possible,” Antani said. “I would encourage the RTA and ATU to keep negotiating and pick a sooner date to negotiate.”
RTA officials said they are “preparing for either outcome.”
“We continue to seek a reasonable resolution to the dispute and/or commitment from the local to continue with mediation of the issue without a work stoppage,” said Donaghy in a prepared statement. “The final decision to strike, of course, rests solely with Local 1385.”
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The parties have until Dec. 31 to settle the dispute before a strike could begin. ATU was required to send RTA a strike notice by Dec. 21 if they intend to strike, according to the terms of a contract agreed upon last January.
The current strike threat is by design of the last contract. In order to get workers back on the job during the strike last January, RTA and ATU agreed to a contract with a reopener clause. The language allowed either party to reopen the contract in order to settle still-unresolved questions about healthcare. ATU reopened the contract in March.