Local 1576

Message From President Custer

First Transit Everett Contract Ratified

At a time when it’s been the most difficult for Unions to negotiate a wage increase and better benefits for their members, let alone maintain what they currently have, ATU Local 1576 was successful in negotiating the best contract our Everett First Transit members ever imagined they would see.

After nearly 10 months of negotiations, our First Transit members ratified our tentative agreement by a margin I never thought I’d see. With a vote of 97 in favor 8 opposed, the membership told the negotiating team that they never thought they would see such a good contract. Here are some highlights:
• The three year agreement includes a wage increase of 3% the first year, 4% second year, 3.25% third year.

• The Union negotiated 100% paid medical for employee only. At the end of the three year contract, employees will pay only $80 for Family Medical coverage- less than what they were paying when we entered negotiations. The medical plan has changed to a higher deductable plan, however the facts show more money will go into our member’s pockets regardless of the change in the plan and even more so for members who use the coverage the least.

• For the first time ever, our members now have 32 hours of paid sick leave in the first year of the contract and 40 hours in years two and three. Previously, without any paid sick leave our members would have to draw from their vacation bank whenever they were sick.

• Finally, I filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge in 2009 when First Transit implemented a new Handbook and refused to bargain with the Union over the changes to the working conditions. We prevailed in 2010, by preserving the negotiated Handbook, and I was determined that those policies we worked so hard to negotiate would be included in the next labor agreement once and for all. As a result, this labor agreement now includes the ever important policies such as Attendance, Accident and Discipline which cannot be changed or altered without first negotiating it with the Union. For those of you who knew or could imagine the draconian policy changes First Transit wanted to implement, you can imagine what a success this is for our membership.

Let me be the first to say, all of this wasn’t easy… although negotiations never is. And I can honestly say that with every contract negotiations I’ve been in, it becomes more and more apparent that one of the most important, if not the most important things our members can do while they patiently wait for a tentative agreement is to support the negotiating team and trust that they are negotiating the best possible contract with only the membership’s best interest in mind. This proved to be so true during our recent negotiations with Senior Services, which ratified just prior to First Transit, as well as during these negotiations.

And, if it wasn’t for the dedication and determination of our negotiating team which included, Executive Board officers John Bismore and William Taylor, Vice President Rick Jurkovic and the assistance of our attorney Beth Bloom, none of this would have happened.

Again, I personally thank every member for trusting the Union’s commitment to our membership and to our members at First Transit and Senior Services for your patience while the Union negotiated the best possible agreement for you.

Regards to All, Be Safe

Kathleen M. Custer



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