OAKLAND (CBS SF) – AC Transit employees have voted by a margin of 561 to 369 to reject management’s offer of a 9.5 percent pay increase over three years.

Leaders of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192, which represents about 1,800 bus drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, clerical and other workers, had recommended that employees approve the tentative agreement, which was reached last Wednesday.

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Union leaders said in a message to members before the vote, “We hope you will see the accomplishments of your negotiating team, to bring you one of the best contracts negotiated in transit or the public sector this year.”

The leadership said, “All members will benefit from this contract with immediate raises effective Oct. 6 and important protections for workers in our contract kept in place.”

The union’s message to employees said management was offering 3 percent raises in the first two years of the three-year contract and a 3.5 percent hike in the final year.

The employees’ vote rejecting the contract on Tuesday marks the second time they have voted down a tentative agreement. On Aug. 17, members voted by a margin of 576 to 257 against a tentative agreement that had been reached earlier that month.

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AC Transit workers had threatened to strike on Aug. 7 if a tentative agreement hadn’t been reached before then, but they haven’t set another strike date since.

ATU Local 192 President Yvonne Williams said in a statement today, “We will meet to determine next steps shortly.”

AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said he has no comment on contract talks because management hasn’t yet been formally notified of the voting results, which were just announced this morning.

In her statement, Williams said, “Like most Americans, our members lost substantial income during the great recession. They are expressing concern about how this raise, after medical deductions, makes up for those past concessions.”

Williams said, “Just as homeowners are underwater on a mortgage, AC Transit employees are feeling underwater after this recession. Our negotiating committee worked very hard to achieve this agreement with strong community support. We are very appreciative of that support.”

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