“We are truly disappointed by the union’s decision to strike, which will leave thousands of our region’s citizens unable to travel to work or access medical and social needs,” Donaghy said in a written statement.
Salyer told this newspaper that union picketers “will not stand in (the) way” of RTA’s medical transportation services.
RTA officials indicate a plan is ready to provide limited service “should enough qualified drivers become available.” The newspaper, using Ohio’s public records law, has requested the RTA provide it a copy of the plan.
Last week's offer by RTA proposed 2 percent wage increases each year of the three-year contract and up to a 10.5 percent wage increase for Project Mobility drivers. Donaghy also said RTA offered the union three options for structuring an additional 2 percent cash incentive. But Salyer said the union seeks back pay from 2015 and argued the pay increase would not cover the increased insurance costs.
A statement Wednesday from RTA asserts the average bus operator earned $62,996 in 2015, while the average maintenance employee earned $69,190. Further, the authority said “employees also receive a benefit package far superior to and more costly than private sector workers.”
Salyer, a Project Mobility operator, earned $51,265 in 2015, according to the Dayton Daily News I-Team Payroll Project. Donaghy, the CEO since 2006, earned gross pay of $218,710 in 2015 — up nearly 20 percent from his 2008 gross benefits of $183,034, according to the newspaper's archives.
In April, an I-Team analysis of RTA payroll data found the five bus drivers who earned more than $100,000 last year each pulled in more than $27,000 in overtime. The RTA in 2013 told the I-Team it had a handle on the issue, with Salyer declaring the days of drivers earning six figures were "long gone."
The strike would be the first to hit Dayton’s buses and trolleys since the 1960s, union officials said. The two parties bitterly sparred in 1994, but were able to avoid a strike through negotiations, the Dayton Daily News reported then.
Dayton Public Schools administrators are aware of the strike date, but did not immediately comment on the impact the strike could have on students and employees.
NewsCenter 7’s Natalie Jovonovich contributed reporting.
We were the first local media outlet to report on the Greater Dayton RTA drivers and mechanics decision to strike. Download our mobile app for the latest breaking news and updates at myDaytonDailyNews.com.
By the numbers
30,000 - Estimated daily RTA riders
463 - Employees represented by union
5 - RTA drivers making $100,000+ in 2015
$62,966 - Average RTA driver 2015 salary
$218,710 - RTA CEO’s 2015 salary