Grand Valley Transit employees vote to authorize strike

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) -- Grand Valley Transit employees aren't happy about what they're being paid -- so unhappy, they've voted to authorize a strike.

Going into that vote Tuesday night, employees told us their pay tops out at just under $14 an hour, $6 less than bus drivers in surrounding areas.

They say that isn't enough to survive here on the Western Slope, and say keeping bus drivers here has been near impossible.

"It does impact me," Judi Derusha, bus operator and President of ATU Local 1776, said. "I've been a driver for over five years, and Grand Valley Transit has had discounted labor for multiple years, and its time for that wrong to be righted."

Drivers are also taking issue with the fact that tax dollars are being used as profit for Transdev, the company that manages GVT instead of being used to pay employees.

We reached out to Transdev for comment.

They sent us an email which says in part, "we are hoping to reach a resolution on wages and benefits for our employees tonight or in the very near future."

Folks who use the bus regularly, say they sure hope that's true.

"It makes it easy for me to get from one place to another in a timely manner and if I didn't have that it would be hours in between places and I probably wouldn't have a job," Monique Salazar, a daily bus rider, said.

We're told for now, buses will keep rolling, but drivers say that may change if negotiations don't go somewhere fast.

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