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Dade Transit Workers Warned About Rumored Slowdown

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Residents of Miami-Dade who rely on the county’s bus and rail service to get to work, run errands or make it to appointments, such as at the doctor’s or dentist’s office, may want to leave earlier than planned on Monday and Tuesday.

Members of the local Transit Workers Union, upset that Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has called for employee pay and benefit cuts, are reportedly planning an illegal work slowdown on August 15th and 16th.

On Wednesday Yselta Llort, the county’s interim transit director, warned employees not to take part in the rumored slowdown and threatened to fire those who did, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

Top TWU officials said they did not endorse the work slowdown which would entail employees calling in sick and not coming  to work.

“Our employees, like the rest of the thirty thousand county employees, are upset at negotiations but we’re not about to resolve anything by turning on the public,” said TWU Local 291 spokesperson Ken McKay.

County officials have said all transit services will be operational next week, but if slowdown occurs, all customers will experience delays in Metrobus and Metrorail service. Since Metromover is an automated service, delays are not expected. The Special Transportation Service (STS), which is contracted out, should also not be impacted.

According to a county transit department release:

Miami-Dade Transit is ready to implement a contingency plan to continue providing transit service in case the work slowdown occurs. However, we ask that those who have pressing appointments to meet on those days make alternate transportation arrangements, if possible, in case of delays or service disruption.

Gimenez’s budget proposal calls for county employees to contribute an additional five percent of their salaries to cover the costs of health insurance and ends a three percent pay increase. It also eliminates 1,300 positions countywide. The measures are needed to help close a $400 million budget gap for the coming year which begins on October 1st.

Last month Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved Gimenez’s proposed rollback of the millage rate from 11.04 to 9.74 for the next fiscal year.

Gimenez promised during his campaign to lower property taxes from the rate set by former Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

Gimenez said that by adopting the millage rate it will lower taxes this year and keep taxes flat in the 2012-2013 budget; thereby balancing the books for two years to give the community some stability.

Under the new rate, homeowners will save roughly $134 per $100,000 of property value. For the average homeowner with a $250,000 property, the savings would come out to roughly $335 in the coming year.

The commission will vote on the final budget next month.

For more information, log on to the Miami-Dade Transit Website

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