San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans)

CA: SamTrans Board Approves Union Contract

The San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) Board of Directors, meeting in special session July 17, unanimously approved a new three-year contract with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1574, representing the district bus operators, maintenance workers and customer service center representatives.

ATU 1574 membership on Wednesday overwhelmingly ratified the contract.

The new contract calls for a 3 percent raise in each of the three years of the contract, a total of 9 percent over the life of the agreement.

In the third year, union members also will increase by 1 percent the amount they pay into their California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) pensions, following a practice that was begun with all employees three years ago.

Also in the third year, to ease the transition to the pension share increase, union employees will receive a lump sum payment of $300.

The new contract is effective July 13, the beginning of the current pay period.

“This is a fair contract that reflects the respect we hold for the men and women who are on the front lines – delivering service to our communities, making sure the buses are running and clean and providing our customers with essential information about our service,” said SamTrans General Manager Michael J. Scanlon.

“Like any negotiation, neither side got all of what it wanted. But both sides acted responsibly and worked hard through issues to reach agreement. There were tensions from time to time, but it never got personal.   We are very pleased that we were able to reach an agreement in a manner that preserves our relationship of mutual respect and collaboration,” Scanlon said.

A key component of the new contract is the creation of a union/management committee that will work to establish a new state-certified mechanic apprenticeship program.

“In the economic environment of the Bay Area, it is very difficult to identify and hire mechanics who are versed in the high standards of maintenance that we have at SamTrans,” said Chuck Harvey, deputy CEO for operations and maintenance. “This formal training program – a partnership between labor and management – will help us develop a homegrown workforce that is trained in the technical skills expected of our mechanical staff to meet the changing needs of our system.”