Jan 10, 2022

Metro, Transit Union Sign New Contract Offering Higher Pay, Increased Benefits

The new contract marks a critical step in recruiting drivers and ensuring improved service to the community.
CINCINNATI – The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 627 have reached an agreement to approve a new, three-year contract. The new agreement will mean higher rates of pay and increased benefits for Metro’s union-member staff, including bus operators and maintenance workers.

“Our dedicated operators and maintenance teams serve our community each and every day,” said CEO and General Manager Darryl Haley. “As we invest in improved and innovative services for our riders, this new contract allows us to properly reward and compensate our workforce for their hard work and the invaluable service they provide. It also helps us in our continued efforts to attract and retain talent in this fiercely competitive labor market. Ultimately, this all means better service for our community,” added Haley.

“I am very pleased that we could agree on a new contract with SORTA that addresses the needs of our members and keeps Cincinnati on the move for our customers,” said Troy Miller, president of the Local 627 chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union.

Like so many other industries across the country, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Metro has experienced a profound and persistent driver shortage. Reaching this agreement with the ATU marks a critical step in growing Metro’s reach throughout Hamilton County through the fulfillment of the Reinventing Metro plan service improvements, which will benefit the entire community with enhanced service to jobs, school and medical services.

Among the contract’s highlights are:

- 2.5% wage increases every six months, retroactive to January 2021
- Increased starting wage of $21 per hour for new operators (after paid training)
- Yearly increases in top earning wages for operators and mechanics, reaching $32.39 per hour and $34.33 per hour, respectively, by contract’s end
- New “premium pay” structure for operators running high-ridership routes to ensure more reliable service for the most customers
- Improved work-life balance for staff through more stable shift times, which will also aid in recruiting and retaining talent

The new agreement marks the largest contractual increase in Metro’s history and is among the largest seen across the country.

The contract will go into effect immediately, retroactive to November 2020 and extending through October 2023. ATU membership voted to approve the terms on Thursday, Jan. 6.

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