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Monday, September 1, 2003



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Bus strike in
seventh day with
no negotiations set


The islandwide bus strike that has left tens of thousands of commuters without their regular transportation enters its seventh day today with no contract talks scheduled.

Negotiations between Oahu Transit Systems Inc. and Teamsters Local 996 for a new contract for nearly 1,400 drivers, mechanics and other employees broke down Thursday night.

The result has been a public peeved but persistent, largely getting where it needs to go, though not without sacrifices.

"I am not a morning person," said Ellen Wcislo, lamenting the 45 minutes of sleep she has lost every morning since the strike began, She now walks to the downtown office where she is a paralegal.

Matt Webb, a 28-year-old who also works downtown, now rises at 5 a.m., before sunrise.

"I'll just get a bike," said Webb, who does data entry for a property management firm. "To hell with them."

Striking bus workers, meanwhile, continued to walk the picket line, although some attended Labor Day events yesterday, including the Unity House picnic at Ala Moana Beach Park and the Teamsters' family fun day at Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park in Kapolei.

Bus workers went on strike on Tuesday after last-ditch negotiations broke down.

The workers are now asking for 50 cent-an-hour raises in the second and third years of the three-year contract. City officials and OTS, the company that runs TheBus system for the city, says there is no money for raises.



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