Saturday, September 20, 2008

VTA and ATU reach agreement

The contract was ratified by ATU members on Thursday. Below is the press release from VTA, via VTA Riders' Union:


CONTACT: Jennie Loft - (408)994-7001
September 19, 2008

VTA Reaches Agreement with Amalgamated Transit Union

ATU members ratify new contract that reflects economic reality

San Jose, Calif. -After 11 months of negotiation, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 265 (ATU) have successfully come to terms on a new contract. The terms of this new agreement were ratified by ATU members yesterday and will be presented to the VTA board for approval on October 2, 2008.

"VTA's transit system plays an integral role in ensuring the economic vitality of Silicon Valley, as well as improving the quality of life of residents who benefit from less congested freeways, reduced greenhouse emissions, and a cost-effective alternative to driving," said VTA Board Chair, Liz Kniss. "I am extremely pleased that VTA and ATU have successfully concluded negotiations and, by working together to address both sides' concerns, that we were able to avoid any interruptions to transit service in the process."

Negotiations have been on-going since November 2007 and reflect 11 months of analysis and dialog. The new contract term is from February 2008 through February 2011 and includes:

* 7.5% Increase in Wages over the term of the agreement.
* Due to the rising cost of health care, the agreement provides for shared costs between employees and VTA.
* Provision was made to ensure operator rest and meal periods during assigned shift does not interrupt route schedule.

"This new agreement is a fair contract for all involved and reflects today's economic reality," said Michael T. Burns, VTA General Manager. "It is also reasonable in relation to wage and benefits offered by transit agencies and other employers in the region."

The VTA Board of Directors will vote to approve the new contract at its regular meeting on October 2, 2008. The ATU union represents approximately 1,400 employees including bus drivers, light rail operators, and mechanics.

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