Metro Union Employees Approve New Labor Contract

CINCINNATI –On Tuesday, March 15, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 627 membership voted to approve a three-year labor contract with Metro, effective through Jan. 31, 2014.  The vote was 409 to 49.  The current contract expired at midnight on Jan. 31, 2011.

CINCINNATI –On Tuesday, March 15, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 627 membership voted to approve a three-year labor contract with Metro, effective through Jan. 31, 2014.  The vote was 409 to 49.  The current contract expired at midnight on Jan. 31, 2011.

The new contract also must receive approval from the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority board of trustees, which will meet on Friday.

Approximately 676 Metro bus drivers, mechanics, and operations support employees are covered by this new contract, which establishes wages, benefits and work rules.  Major terms of the contract include:

Wages:

  • Lump sum of $500 in 2011
  • 1% in February 2012 and 1% in August 2012
  • 1% in February 2013 and 1% in August 2013

Medical insurance:
Metro will provide three plan options:

  • High deductible health plan with $2000 single/$4000 family deductibles
  • High deductible health plan with $1,500 single/$3,000 family deductibles
  • PPO plan

If the employee chooses the $1,500/$3,000 plan or PPO plan, the employee will pay the difference between the cost of the selected plan and the cost of the $2,000/$4,000 plan.  This incentive to choose the higher deductible plan is intended to manage costs.

Balancing costs with employees' needs was the key to forging this mutually beneficial contract, according to Metro CEO & General Manager Terry Garcia Crews.  "Both union and management have struggled with how to give our employees a fair, competitive package while remaining fiscally responsible in these lean budget times.  This contract meets the needs of employees and the taxpayers who fund our service and can be accommodated within our 2011 budget."

"We've been in labor negotiations since December.  Wages and health insurance costs were the major issues for us," said Mark Bennett, President and Business Agent for ATU Local 627.   "ATU recognizes the importance of transit to the community, and we stayed at the bargaining table to hammer out an agreement that would provide good wages and benefits for our employees while recognizing Metro's budget constraints."

Metro is a non-profit, tax-funded public service of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, providing about 17 million rides per year in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Media note:
ATU Local 627 President Mark Bennett for comment, 513-236-0434 (cell).

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