New Orleans RTA reaches four-year agreement with ATU Local 1560

June 29, 2022
RTA says the new agreement includes a pay and benefits package that keeps operators among the highest paid in the southwest and southeast regions.

A four-year labor agreement was ratified by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1560. 

During the RTA Board of Commissioners meeting, the commissioners unanimously voted to ratify the resolution that granted RTA’s CEO Alex Z. Wiggins the authority to sign the new labor agreement, which RTA says includes a pay and benefits package that keeps RTA operators among the highest paid in the southwest and southeast regions. 

“The RTA workforce has demonstrated time and time again their commitment to maintaining mobility through the most challenging circumstances including the pandemic and our recent overactive hurricane seasons,” said Wiggins. “I am proud of the agreement made between the RTA and the ATU as it honors this commitment of our essential employees by investing in competitive wages and benefits that make the RTA one of the most desirable employers in the region.” 

The agreement between ATU and RTA covers 518 represented employees, including bus, streetcar and paratransit operators, dispatchers, reservationists, clerks, transit tellers, transit information operators, router editors and training instructors. The four-year agreement is effective through June 30, 2025. 

“We are one step closer to fulfilling our commitment to investing in RTA employees with the ratification of this labor agreement between the RTA and its largest union,” said Flozell Daniels, Jr., RTA board chair. “The RTA's lifeblood is its transit operators and mechanics, and the RTA Board of Commissioners is looking forward to our continued partnership to give New Orleanians the world-class riding experience they deserve.”  

The RTA and ATU began negotiations in spring 2021, reaching a tentative agreement on May 5, 2022. The agreement was ratified by ATU membership on June 23, 2022, with the RTA Board adopting the resolution on June 28, 2022, which gave the CEO the authority to ratify the contract.  

Per the agreement, ATU represented employees will now receive:    

  • A top 2022 salary of $29.41 per hour plus ample opportunities for overtime.   
  • Increased yearly safe driving bonus from $250 to $400 for operators who maintain safe driving record for the calendar year.   
  • Reduced out of pocket health care expenses by capping employee insurance premiums at 20 percent.   
  • A three percent increase in employer match in retirement benefits resulting in an increase from three percent to six percent.    
  • Juneteenth and Memorial Day were added as paid holidays, totaling 13 days per year. This includes one personal holiday. 
  • An additional $1,100 in COVID-19 pay, capping at $3,100.  

“This new labor agreement will place New Orleans RTA operators among the highest paid in our region,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “As a result of this successful labor agreement, the over 500 women and men of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority can look ahead to a future of competitive wages, reduced out of pocket health care expenses, and enhanced bonuses and incentive programs.”   

Kory Dupree, president, ATU Local 1560, added, "As the new ATU Local 1560 Local President, my first priority was reaching an agreement with RTA for our members on the front lines. We have faced many challenges in maintaining mobility but have persevered for our riders and our community. ATU Local 1560 looks forward to continuing the work of the agency, overcoming obstacles to building stronger connections and moving forward in a new direction with RTA."