S.O.R.T.A. Board, Union Employees Approve New Three-Year Labor Contract
On Monday, Dec. 14, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 627 membership voted to approve a labor contract with Metro (243 to 64), effective Nov. 1, 2015-Oct. 31, 2018.CINCINNATI — On Monday, Dec. 14, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 627 membership voted to approve a labor contract with Metro (243 to 64), effective Nov. 1, 2015-Oct. 31, 2018. The current contract expired at midnight on Oct. 31, 2015. Today, the new contract was unanimously approved by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority board. Small buses would be operated by current Metro bus operators at the same wage scale as other operators. Employees will be refunded the increases in health insurance that they paid beginning in December under the terms of the previous contract. Approximately 700 Metro bus drivers, mechanics, and operations support employees will be covered by this new contract, which establishes wages, benefits and work rules. Major terms of the contract include: Wages: · 2% wage increase each year, effective on Jan. 1 Medical insurance (two Humana plan options): · PPO plan · High Deductible Health Plan, with Metro providing Health Savings Account seed money Wellness incentives: · Employees pay 10% of premium costs beginning in 2016; if employees and their enrolled spouses do not both participate in biometric screening, their premium share increases to 17% on May 1, 2016 · Beginning in 2017, adding nicotine screening, with additional premium cost for nicotine use for employees and covered spouses · Our wellness incentives will also include required primary care physician visits and wellness physicals. · This will be coupled with a robust nicotine cessation program to be introduced in 2016. Other items: · Life insurance increased by $1,000 a year for full-time employees · Optional employee-paid vision insurance · $10 increase in uniform allowance · $10 increase in tool allowance (mechanics) Balancing costs with employees’ needs was the key to forging this mutually beneficial contract, according to Metro CEO & General Manager Dwight Ferrell. “Our goal was to provide a fair, competitive and fiscally responsible package for our bargaining unit employees.” Metro is a non-profit, tax-funded public service of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, providing about 17 million rides per year in the Greater Cincinnati area.
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