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GET bus begin services after month long strike

BAKERSFIELD,CA- More than 250 golden empire transit bus drivers and mechanics are going back to work Tuesday after members of the teamsters union voted on a deal to end the 34 day long strike.
/ Source: KGET-TV

BAKERSFIELD,CA- More than 250 golden empire transit bus drivers and mechanics are going back to work Tuesday after members of the teamsters union voted on a deal to end the 34 day long strike.

The past month wasn't easy for some Golden Empire Transit riders who had to ride out the strike.

"Had to walk. I mean miles," said Daniel Howe.

"I had to struggle to find a ride or struggle to scrap together enough money to get a taxi and it just makes it hard. makes it really hard," said Shianne Howe.

"I had to cancel doctors appointments until it was over so now I can reschedule my appointments," said Richard Delouth.

On Sunday evening, members of the local teamsters union voted to approve an agreement negotiated on Friday.

Union employees were fighting for a four percent increase for the next three years. But the deal they took was a 3 percent raise the first year, a 2.5 percent raise the second year and a 2 percent raise the third year.

"What we said all along is that our finances aren't certain. Our funding is uncertain. What we will be doing is closely monitoring our financial picture through this year. I'm not going to say that we may not have to have some budget cuts as we get into the year. But, at this point we're going to move forward," said GET spokesperson Gina Hayden.

The union voted Sunday 158 to 29 to end the strike. About 250 bus drivers and mechanics went on strike July 15 over pay and part time work.

"We got some very important language in the contract that basically assured 70 full-time drivers which we haven't had before and that was something promotion to full-time by seniority," said union representative Chester Suniga.

Buses began rolling 6 a.m. Tuesday.

GET officials say in order to give back to their riders, they will be offering free bus rides to everyone until September 1.

GET is exchanging all partially used 31 day passes and August summer youth passes.