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Martha's Vineyard Bus Drivers Plan To Strike Friday

In this 2015 file photo, people walk near cottages in the Camp Meeting Association neighborhood of Oak Bluffs on the island of Martha's Vineyard. (Steven Senne/AP)
In this 2015 file photo, people walk near cottages in the Camp Meeting Association neighborhood of Oak Bluffs on the island of Martha's Vineyard. (Steven Senne/AP)

Bus drivers on Martha's Vineyard are expected to strike on Friday — ahead of a summer weekend — amid a contract dispute.

"Vineyard Transit Authority private contractor [Transit Connection Inc.] continues to commit unfair labor practices and refuses to offer Martha’s Vineyard bus drivers a contract with livable wages, leaving the workers no option but to set a strike date," Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1548 said in a Tuesday afternoon statement.

The union, which voted to authorize a strike back in April, said its members will distribute leaflets to riders before Friday about the strike and how they can support drivers by boycotting the buses.

"In the event of a strike, the VTA and our operating company, TCI (who employs the drivers), will do our best to provide as much service as possible," the VTA says on its website.

It added: "Priority will be given to Routes 1, 13 and Tisbury Park & Ride. However, we are hoping to provide service on at least 70% of our routes or more. There may be service during the day and reduced service at night."

Among its provisions, TCI offered pay raises in what it said was its final contract offer, in late May.

Democratic Massachusetts U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Bill Keating have all voiced their support for VTA drivers.

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