City Council looking into wage increase for DTLA bus drivers – Daily News | #citycouncil

A DASH bus passes by Los Angeles City Hall on November 1, 2019. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

A Los Angeles City Council committee will discuss and take possible action Wednesday to address concerns from city bus drivers, mechanics and utility workers who are fighting for higher wages and improved benefits.

Teamsters Local 572, which represents about 360 transportation workers, who drive and maintain the city’s transit fleet, including DASH, Commuter Express, Cityride and LAnow, announced in March that they authorized a strike — though no action plans were disclosed. The union said its members are asking for an increase in wages that are at par or higher than other transportation services in the L.A. region.

City leaders have been aware of the union’s concerns and calls for support. Council President Paul Krekorian and Councilwoman Heather Hutt, chair of the Transportation Committee, introduced a motion on Jan. 18, 2023, to address a bus driver shortage as well as to examine possible wage increases.

The city of Los Angeles has a contract with MV Transportation, which hires and trains bus drivers. The city would need to amend its contract with MV Transportation in order for bus drivers to receive an increase to their wages, according to a report by Laura Rubio-Cornejo, general manager of the city’s Department of Transportation.

She noted that LA bus drivers could see their wage increased by one or a combination of ways, such as increasing the base pay to $24.15 per hour for all drivers across all contracts, or through performance bonuses, or by implementing pay increases to new hires in their first two years of service.

Rubio-Cornejo cited in her report that the coronavirus pandemic changed the city’s approach to hiring bus drivers — and ongoing market and health issues continue to exacerbate the staffing shortage and cause delays in routes being on time.

She also acknowledged that while LADOT and the contractor have made “strides” in hiring to fill vacancies, the greatest obstacle they face is retention of new hires.

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