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LOS ANGELES-The city this morning braced for its first workday without public transit, as a full-scale strike transit strike that began Saturday forces 450,000 bus and rail users to look for other ways to get to their jobs.

The Downtown area will likely suffer most, experts say, because an unusually high percentage of its workers depend on public transit. But thousands of businesses across the county could also be hurt because the Teamsters and other unions that belong to the 800,000-member AFL-CIO have pledged to honor picket lines, which means everything from the delivery of overnight packages to janitorial service at office buildings could be disrupted.

Some 6,800 bus and rail drivers, mechanics, clerks and others walked off their jobs Saturday morning after talks between their unions and the Metropolitan Transit Authority broke down. No new negotiations are scheduled, which means the strike could drag on for at least several days.

The typical bus driver earns more than $50,000 a year plus thousands of dollars more in overtime, the MTA says. Transit officials are asking the union to accept a four-day workweek to reduce overtime pay and also want changes in work rules that sometimes require highly paid mechanics to perform work that can be done by lower-paid employees.

An even bigger issue may be the MTA’s plan to contract out more work to other transit companies in an effort to save money and improve service. Most union officials are opposed to the plan, fearing that it would hurt their negotiating clout and encourage the hiring of non-union workers.

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