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LOS ANGELES-The strike by the county’s bus and rail-line workers dragged into its second week this morning, stranding more than a half-million Angelenos and causing countless Downtown businesses to close their doors.

Unions representing nearly 7,000 drivers, mechanics, clerks and others walked off their jobs 10 days ago, claiming that they’re underpaid and overworked. The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which manages most of LA County’s transit system, says the typical bus driver makes $50,000 a year and thousands more in overtime.

Experts say the MTA knows that it can’t get the bus drivers’ union to take a pay cut, so the agency is pushing for changes in work rules to save money. Under the current contract, clerical duties or other simple jobs must often be done by highly paid mechanics or drivers.

The strike is taking its toll on businesses, especially those in the transit-dependent central business district. Some restaurants, bars and retail stores—-many of which are in CBD office buildings–have been forced to either cut back hours or close altogether because many of their regular patrons can’t make it in.

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