Monday, March 21, 2011

SORTA board approves contract for Metro's unionized employees

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) board of trustees on Friday approved a new three-year contract with its 676 Metro employees represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 627.

The contract, which is effective through January 31, 2014, will provide Metro's unionized bus drivers, mechanics, and operations support employees with a $500 lump sum wage increase for 2011, with additional 1 percent increases in February 2012, August 2012, February 2013, and August 2013. It also offers three medical plan options, including two separate high-deductible plan options as well as a PPO plan.

Members of ATU Local 627 voted to approve the contract by a 409-49 vote last Tuesday. They had been working without a contract since the end of January, and negotiations had been ongoing since December.

SORTA's board also passed a motion opposing Ohio Senate Bill 5, stating that the organization "is opposed to any Ohio labor legislation that would negatively impact SORTA's ability to receive existing and future funding to carry out its mission of providing safe and efficient public transportation throughout southwest Ohio".

That 294-page bill, which passed the Ohio Senate by a 17-16 vote early this month and is currently being considered by the Ohio House, would severely limit the collective bargaining rights of the state's public workers.

Previous reading on BC:
Metro's union employees approve new contract (3/17/11)
Metro ridership up 5 percent in February (3/15/11)
Motion directs restored SORTA funding; New leaders announced (2/15/11)
SORTA rejects recommendations on new driver contract (2/3/11)
SORTA says City funding decision violates contract, sets 'dangerous precedent' (1/10/11)