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More than 100 MARTA bus drivers call off on Sunday as sickouts continue

MARTA supervisors being pressed into service to drive buses

ATLANTA — MARTA supervisors are being pressed into service following last week's bus driver sickouts in connection with the dispute between the transit authority and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 732 over a new contract.

The transit authority says they will discipline drivers who are engaging in what they have called an "illegal job action," after a court injunction was filed late last week.

The new contract was supposedly signed more than a week ago, but since that point, there have been hundreds of drivers to call off sick from work.

There has been a high level of apparent frustration over the new contract.

► RELATED | 80 MARTA drivers call in sick as Super Bowl week begins 

Early last week, more than 200 drivers called-in sick on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to protest the contract.

MARTA filed a court injunction on Thursday to end the slowdown by the union rank-and-file. Since that point, an additional 279 callouts have taken place, including 109 reported by noon on Sunday.

► MORE | 73 MARTA bus drivers call in sick for second day in a row 

The transit authority says there has not been a major impact on Super Bowl activities -- rail operations are not affected, and a majority of people headed to Super Bowl events have been taking MARTA's rail service to those events. 

"MARTA supervisors are operating buses to minimize delays on affected routes and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience they may experience. There have been no impacts to MARTA rail service," a statement from MARTA released on Sunday said, in part. "MARTA has initiated an investigation into the recent Bus Operator sickouts and will discipline employees found to have engaged in an illegal job action."

"I am pleased with the results of the ATU contract ratification vote, which received overwhelming approval by union employees. This contract provides important parity pay adjustments for MARTA operators and our skilled technicians that will allow us to retain experienced employees and recruit new ones," said MARTA GM and CEO Jeffrey Parker. "The wage increases are fair and we have continued measures to contain healthcare costs. We will be moving forward together to improve the customer experience and expand transit service."

The new three-year labor contract was ratified by 88 percent of the ATU Local 732 members last Saturday, according to information released by MARTA. 

The MARTA Board of Directors must also ratify the labor contract.

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