The St. Louis Metro, ATU Agreement
St. Louis Metro Transit operators, maintenance, and clerical workers, represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 788, reached a three-year contract after more than a year of negotiations between the two parties, which calls for a base pay increase, a $7,000 signing bonus, and other new benefits.
“Our frontline employees and their negotiating team with ATU Local 788 worked tirelessly for these contracts, and we are very grateful they have now been ratified by both the members and the full Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners,” said Taulby Roach, president and CEO of Bi-State Development, which operates Metro Transit for the region. “We are all ready to move forward so we can focus on better serving our community with a renewed sense of pride and purpose.”
The agreements approved by ATU members call for pay increases of 3% this year and 3% next year with a $7,000 signing bonus. The collective bargaining agreements cover approximately 1,100 employees. A portion of the signing bonus would go into employees’ 401k retirement plans.
The salary increases are in addition to a 5% increase retroactive to July 2022 that the two sides agreed on last fall, which set the stage for contract talks to continue on a longer-term deal. The previous contracts covering MetroBus and MetroLink operators, maintenance workers, and clerical workers expired in June 2022.
The new agreements further stipulate the terms of the ratification bonus, noting that $3,000 of it can be added to a paycheck or can be placed in a 401k tax-advantaged retirement account, while the remaining $4,000 will go toward a 401k tax-advantaged retirement account set up by Bi-State Development. The 401k yearly contributions are in addition to the covered members’ regular pension contributions.
In addition to base wage increases, the contract offers new pay differentials that could increase pay by up to 7% for qualified employees. Two-thirds of all MetroBus and MetroLink operators currently qualify for at least one pay differential. The advantages spelled out in the operator and maintenance contract are part of Metro’s initiative to provide a competitive wage and benefit package that significantly increases operator take-home pay and accelerates the steps and progression to top salary.
The MARTA, ATU Agreement
MARTA and ATU Local 732 have reached a new three-year collective bargaining agreement. MARTA’s healthcare coverage and pension benefits are top amongst public employers, with MARTA covering 83% of employees’ healthcare premiums and offering represented employees a lifetime pension benefit. New benefits included in this contract include paid parental leave, education reimbursement, and longevity and attendance bonuses.
The agreement also includes an average 10% raise for operators in the first year, and 3% in the second and third year. Of MARTA’s 4,275 employees, 2,697, or 63%, are members of ATU Local 732.
“No one is more important to delivering the vision of MARTA, which is people taking people where they want to go today, tomorrow and in the future, than our represented workforce,” said MARTA GM/CEO Collie Greenwood. “I feel confident this agreement recognizes the contributions of represented staff and establishes new benefits to support them and their families.”
The contract creates a mutually beneficial situation for both the union and management by restructuring the attendance bonus from annual to quarterly. The move allows employees to take time when needed but incentivizes consistent attendance, which will help minimize missed trips due to high levels of absenteeism.
ATU Local 732 members will receive an estimated 12 times more in total attendance bonuses over the last contract, and longevity bonuses have been added for members with 15 years of service and increased for those with over 20 years. Another feature of the contract is members can share MARTA employee Breeze passes with their spouses and dependents, up to four per represented employee.