The AC Transit Board of Directors tonight unanimously approved a new labor agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192, endorsing a three-year deal that gives the agency’s 1,625 bus operators and mechanics a 9.5 percent wage increase.
The agreement comes after nine months of “intense but cordial” negotiations between the union and AC Transit management that included a stunning and ominous threat of a work stoppage that never happened.
“I think the process was a very good one,” said AC Transit Board President Greg Harp, noting that the agency still has a “huge problem” in trying to maintain an “unsustainable” employee pension plan. Still, he said, “this is good contract and I think we have accomplished a great deal. Both sides worked hard to make this happen.”
Under terms of the agreement, the 9.5 percent salary increase will be phased in over the life of the three-year contract. In addition, for the first time, ATU employees will also make contributions toward their health care costs with a flat monthly contribution of $120.00 per employee during the life of the contract.
In December, ATU members also approved the labor agreement by a vote of 567 to 465, heading off a strike that that was twice averted — once by reaching a tentative labor agreement and then a second time by a cooling off period imposed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
A walkout by operators would have halted AC Transit bus service for 197,000 daily riders who depend on buses for transportation throughout the East Bay and onto the Peninsula and San Francisco.