Vote coming Monday: Bus drivers union leaders urge members to vote “no” on new contract

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MILWAUKEE -- Leaders of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998, the MCTS bus drivers union, are encouraging members to vote "no" on a new contract.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998

An information session was held on Wednesday evening, September 30th -- to ensure MCTS bus drivers know what's included ahead of a vote -- which is set for Monday, October 5th.

Details of the contract (according to MCTS):

Increased wages

  • Quarterly cost of living (COLA) increases without a cap (1% to 2% a year)
  • On top of COLA increase, a ½% pay increase when contract is ratified
  • Another 1% pay increase on April 1, 2016
  • Senior mechanics will also receive an additional $.25 an hour raise

Slight increase in health care costs

  • Monthly premiums would increase:
    •  Individual plans – from $95 a month (2015) to an estimated $102 a month (2016) and $117 a month (2017)
    • Family plans – from $246 a month (2015) to an estimated $266 a month (2016) and $306 a month (2017)
  • No change to deductibles in 2016 and a deductible increase in 2017 from $500 to $750 (individual plan)
  • MCTS will pay 100% of health costs after deductibles are met

Part-time drivers

  • MCTS proposes no more than 45 part-time drivers
  • No full-time driver will be laid off and replaced with a part-time driver

Union leaders say there's still concern about the number of part-time workers MCTS officials want to hire.

MCTS

MCTS

They also say they won't rule out another work stoppage if they cannot come to an agreement. You'll recall MCTS bus drivers took part in a three-day strike back in early July following contract negotiations.

"We gotta do what's necessary. We'll go back and see what's best for our membership. But basically what we really want, if we don't think they're fair and they don't think we're fair, let's take it to arbitration," Donnell Shorter, MCTS body mechanic said.

Last week, transit union workers voted "no confidence" in the ability of Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele to manage MCTS. The results were announced one day before the new contract proposal was presented to the union.

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