Milwaukee Bus Drivers, Transit System Return To Negotiating Table

Meeting Between Parties Will Mark First Since 3-Day Walkout

Dave Reid (CC-BY-NC)

Milwaukee County bus drivers and the local transit system are going back to the negotiation table Thursday for the first time since the drivers’ three-day walkout in early July.

Lawrence Kahn, a labor management instructor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University, said the issue that’s holding up completion of a new contract is “political” on both ends.

“The county has got their back to the wall in that they only have so much money to work with unless they increase taxes, which they are not likely to do,” said Kahn. “And on the other hand, the union leadership, unless they are going to come up with something that looks good to their rank and file, their back is to the wall politically.”

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Kahn also said the drivers union is seeking more respect with its request for higher pay and to have the county hire no more part-time drivers with no benefits. The Milwaukee transit system says the union is asking for more than the county can afford.