Texas State tram drivers gathered in the bus loop to sign petitions regarding changes to their contract with First Transit on Friday, as well as authorization of a potential strike next month.
Michael Fleury, university bus driver, said the tram employees have been in negotiations with First Transit for a year to encourage the company to offer a variety of items including an hourly wage increase from the current amount of $10, health insurance benefits, sick days, safer buses and comfort for student passengers.
Fifty-five out of the 81 bus drivers were present at the meeting.
Jay Wyatt, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union in Austin, said 44 employees voted in favor of a strike and 11 were against it. He said 51 bus drivers cast a ballot not to accept current contracts with First Transit while four employees chose to accept the contracts.
Wyatt said the next step is to see if the employees can work out a plan with First Transit without the need for a strike.
Provost Eugene Bourgeois said in an email that there will be a mediated meeting between involved parties May 9. Yvette Salazar, international vice president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said she will represent the bus drivers in discussions with First Transit.
Wyatt said a strike is possible if problems are not resolved in the May 9 negotiations.