BAKERSFIELD, CA - Talks to end the Golden Empire Transit bus strike are rolling once again. The union and GET officials plan to meet Wednesday morning. But, each side still seems miles away from a compromise.
The latest offer from GET is a two-year contract with a two percent increase the first year, and 2.5 percent the second year. It's the deal GET has been offering from the beginning and the union plans to reject once again.
GET bus drivers walked in silence as the strike continues for the 22nd day.
"They're standing strong for what they believe in, and all they are asking for is a fair contract," said Gary Jenkins, GET union spokesperson.
The primary issue is pay raises, but the two sides can't seem to meet in the middle. Initially, the union was asking for a four percent raise each year for three years. Then last week the union says it backed away from four percent raises, asking for undisclosed smaller pay increases over a longer period of time. But to GET, that's not affordable.
"Our financial pie is finite. It's not going to grow, in fact it could shrink," said Gina Hayden, GET spokesperson.
That's why GET is offering a two-year deal with a two percent raise the first year, and 2.5 the next year.
"This is something that GET has been offering for a few weeks," said Hayden.
"It's something I would say we would not consider at this point," said Jenkins of the offer.
The GET board met for their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening. There is a chance GET could discuss a new offer during closed session, but nothing was made public.