RTD and ATU 1001 finalize three-year labor agreement

March 21, 2022
The new CBA includes wage increases, improved retirement benefits and a modified work week, where practicable, among other beneficial changes.

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) in Denver, Colo., and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1001 have entered a three-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA). ATU 1001 members ratified the agreement March 17 and RTD’s Board of Directors authorized the agency’s General Manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson to enter into the agreement on Friday, March 18. The union represents two-thirds of RTD’s employees.

“RTD’s success is intertwined with that of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001. The agency could not deliver high-quality transit services throughout the Denver metro area without the dedicated union employees that constitute the majority of the workforce,” Johnson said. “The RTD Leadership Team and I are proud to partner with ATU 1001 to offer a competitive market wage and quality of life improvements to our employees, while at the same time enhancing operational efficiencies by thoughtfully crafting a successor CBA that truly benefits both parties.”

The new CBA raises wages for all of the agency’s union-represented employees more than 25 percent over the period of the contract, starting with a 16 percent or higher increase in the first year and four percent in each subsequent year.

A 16.6 percent increase for RTD’s bus and rail operators in the first year brings their starting hourly wage from $20.58 to $24 and provides the first opportunity for an increase at six months instead of one year, with increases every six months and reaching the top rate after four and a half years. Other entry-level wages include $30.25 for a general repair mechanic in bus operations, $35.65 for a signal/traction power maintainer in light rail maintenance, $34.48 for a journeyman electrician in facilities maintenance, $33.77 for an electro mechanic in light rail maintenance, and $29.68 for a track maintainer in commuter rail maintenance.

Providing RTD’s represented employees with a market-based living wage, better quality of life and career opportunities were the focus of negotiations for the most recent contract, which will be made retroactive to Jan. 1, 2022, and extend through Dec. 31, 2024, to align with the agency’s annual budget. Current RTD employees will receive the new wage rates, retroactive to January, by May 2022. The prior three-year CBA took effect in March 2018 and was extended one year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“ATU 1001 is pleased with the outcome of our contract negotiations with RTD,” said ATU 1001 President and Business Agent Lance Longenbohn. “The bargaining was conducted in good faith, and many significant improvements were made in wages and working conditions. Under General Manager Debra Johnson’s guidance, the district demonstrated a commitment to its union employees and their well-being that is sure to contribute to our mutual goal of the success of the agency.”

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