The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

MTA bus drivers strike to reclaim medical benefits

Unable to reach an agreement with transit officials, union mechanics, bus drivers and assorted other Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) workers effectively went on strike Monday at 12:01 a.m.

Stalled by issues over health care, a contract could not be met with mechanics, forcing bus drivers to cross over to the picket line to honor a commitment they have with fellow employees.

“What we have been trying to do is force the MTA to stop the strike. Many people are missing their jobs, being forced to pay full price for a taxi and people are not going to school,” Tatrisse Cullors, bus driver union organizer, said.

Those who drive on Crenshaw Boulevard and see the small groups of people awaiting the 210 and 310 like Jan Shimaura, English professor, might not have been affected by the strike, but still recognize the problem this strike might pose.

“Just driving down the street, I see so many students taking the bus to get to school and work and so on. I know that they have been dealing with this issue between the union and the MTA for a long time. It reached a point where they just don’t have an answer to it but to strike,” Shimaura said.

While the strike has shut down most of the buses, the Metrolink commuter rail system and other bus lines are still moving.

Miguel Medina, undecided major, said that alternative forms of transportation will have to be found.

“It’s going to be tough now if they can’t find another form of transportation; otherwise, they can’t go to school. It depends on how far they live from here,” he said.

Students who find themselves chasing after the bus to get to school in the morning might not have that problem for a while.

A strike between MTA and bus drivers three years ago shut down bus transportation for 32 days.

“My only thing is that I would recommend people try to car pool if they possibly can. That is what I would do if I were in that situation. If I lived close enough, I would probably take a bicycle or something,” counselor Elisa Raufman said.

The news has made its way to people all over campus. Erik Martin, computer major, who drives a car, but used to ride the bus, can relate.

Beatrice Lewis, nursing major, has also heard the news.

“I think they should take into consideration how other people feel and how it affects other people,” Lewis said.

Near McDonalds, the 126 bus stop remains empty. Raufman said that until than, students will have to persevere and try to remain open minded.

“I am sure it is very bad for students who have transportation problems and I feel bad for the people who work and have these transportation problems,” she said. “You have to look at both sides; it is horrible for the MTA people who have want to get their health benefits as well as those grocery workers. It is a difficult issue.”

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