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Pr. George's bus strike ends

The contractor that operates the bus system in Prince Georges County and the union that represents drivers and mechanics reached an agreement Monday, ending a strike that has lasted five weeks.

Tommy Ratliff, president of Teamsters Local 639, said union members voted 93-12 to approve a three-year contract with Veolia Transportation. Ratliff said the union sought better job security, improved health insurance, higher wages and changes in the disciplinary policy.

"I'm happy that we were able to get them back to work," Ratliff said. "It's not everything that we wanted, but we feel we can live with it."

The new contract includes a $1-an-hour pay increase, an additional holiday, continued pension contributions and continued health care electives. Veolia also agreed that the the company will meet with an employee to discuss safety infractions within three business days.

Valerie Michael, a spokewoman for Veolia, said employees will start returning to work on Tuesday. "We would just like to thank the community for their patience," she said.

Veolia ran limited service for weeks. Earlier this month, the bus system began operating all of its buses and running all 26 routes using drivers from other jurisdictions and striking employees who returned to work.

Veolia employs 136 full-time and 26 part-time workers in the county.

-- Ovetta Wiggins

By Michael Bolden  | October 18, 2010; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland, Metro, Metrobus, Prince George's County  
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