LA CROSSE Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Employees with the La Crosse Municipal Transit held an informational picket outside of the La Crosse Transit Center over pay negotiations they are having with the city.

“We are here to send a message to city hall that we deserve a fair wage. The city of La Crosse has received over $8 billion in federal funding in just one year alone, funding that can go to frontline workers, real frontline workers. The men and women that risk their lives every day driving a bus, working on a bus.”

MTU workers are asking for a 4.5 percent increase in their yearly wage. They say the city has offered three percent. The president of ATU local 5-1-9 Todd Strasser says the one-and-a-half percent difference would mean a lot to workers.

“I mean, right now, as we all know, the job market is unbelievable. I mean, we’re competing with every other CDL place that is looking for help right now with a $20,000 signing bonus.”

Strasser says their picket is for community members of La Crosse because, without drivers, they may not be able to fill all bus routes.

“Across the state, roads are being closed like Milwaukee, Chicago, you know, that hasn’t happened here. The reason those roads are going away is that they don’t have people in the seats.”

Strasser says until their demands are met, they will continue to advocate for better pay. In a statement responding to today’s event, La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds says in part “the city will continue to honor the bargaining process that may include mediation and arbitration and will not engage in public negotiation of a new contract for ATU Local 519.”