YUMA, AZ - Negotiations between First Transit and the local bus workers union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, continues for the second straight day.
Both parties are in talks to prevent YCAT bus operators from going on strike as soon as Thursday morning.
Union officials handed over a new proposal this morning as YCAT riders are bracing for a strike.
The president of the bus operators union tells KSWT News 13 they're now asking for a 33-cent per hour pay raise. That's ten cents less than what they were asking for in their original proposal.
For riders, they say they want a deal done because they have more to lose if the drivers go on strike.
"I'm mad, really mad. I was thinking 'how am I going to survive?'" said Rolando Rodriguez. Arizona Western College student says if YCAT bus drivers go on strike it could cost him time lost at school.
"I have to start planning my days now and see if I can find a ride to get to school," said Rodriguez.
Under YCAT's contingency plan, Yuma County employees would take over the driver's seat and fill in for first transit employees who go on strike.
However, busses would only run on a limited schedule: Monday-Friday, from 6:30am-11:30am and 12:30pm-5:30pm. Busses would not run on weekends.
As for negotiations, KSWT News 13 asked Bob Bean, President of the YCAT bus operators union if both sides are close to reaching a deal.
"I think with the proposal we have today, it shows that we were willing to make some movement. Hopefully they'll come back and they'll make some movement and we won't be too far from settling this," said Bean.
Meanwhile, riders like Rodriguez say right now is not the time for anyone to walk off the job; even if YCAT is offering free rides if workers go on strike.
"Not wait and go on strike to get more money. Be happy with what you got. The economy is really bad now," said Rodriguez.
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