ATU 1576 Bulletin September 2020

September 2020 ATU 1576 Bulletin

ATU 1576 has five properties, six contracts and membership continues to grow! We are pleased to share this edition of the ATU 1576 Bulletin, to keep our members informed of the news and events of the entire local.

All Properties: 

Our first ever Telephone Town Hall meeting was held on July 26, 2020. This first one was for the Community Transit property and was a great success with over 100 members on the line.  Our local has contracted with this company to continue to hold these meetings for all our properties beginning this fall. Members will receive a robocall the day before the meeting with details about how to access the call.  More information will be posted when we have specific dates and times.

Our website is up and running in the new format. Members will be able to look at an Events Calendar and access news from our local and the ATU International. Check out and be sure to bookmark it for easy reference! 

Notice of Vacancy:  In accordance with our local bylaws, Article 8, section 4, we will be filling, by appointment, the Recording Secretary position from a list of eligible members.  This position is open to all members of ATU Local 1576 who are in good standing. Please see the ATU Bulletin Board at your property or check out our website for more information.

Community Transit:

Accident Policy Update:  Renamed the Safe Driving Policy, this policy applies to the entire agency, not just our ATU members.  A work group with members from all parts of the agency was formed last year. We worked together up through the end of 2019 to create a draft for the new policy.  ATU has recently resumed efforts on this policy, with a narrowed focus on the issues that most apply to our bargaining units, and we hope to finalize negotiations this fall. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Transit was forced to administer layoffs in multiple classifications between July and September of 2020.  Community Transit and ATU Local 1576 worked together to make improvements to the recall language for laid off employees, in order to expedite the return to work process.  A joint communication detailing the changes was distributed and mailed to all employees. Please contact the union or your HR representative with any questions. 

Contract Negotiations: We met with CT recently to discuss the logistics and bargaining teams for the upcoming contract negotiations and we were able to put additional dates on the calendar for the month of October. The union’s focus now will be on soliciting feedback from the membership. The Executive Board officers will be reaching out to members individually for this purpose. Please be thinking of items for negotiations with details for our Board to include. 

Since the beginning of March, ATU has been in daily contact with CT, including weekly scheduled phone calls with the COVID response team for updates and discussion of issues members bring to us. The barriers CT installed in coaches failed the in-service testing process, to our disappointment.  CT only had one prototype being tested and there were serious safety concerns with glare and other issues.  Recently, media reports were published concerning the non-glare barriers King County Metro will be installing when they resume fare collection this fall.  ATU reached out to CT regarding this and requested that we jointly visit Metro to see the new barriers and discuss installation. Stay tuned for more on this.  

While much focus has been on coach operators out in the field, we want to recognize the other classifications which have also been impacted by COVID and have had to make significant changes in the way they do their jobs.  A BIG THANK YOU and SHOUT OUT to our dedicated members including Swift Ambassadors, Ride Store/ Sales and Distribution, Training Department, Facilities Maintenance, Customer Care (Call Center), and Dispatch!  We see you! Your work keeps the wheels turning! 


Transdev now holds the contract for para-transit after Community Transit put it up for bid in the mid-term of their contract, earlier this year. Transdev has committed to us that they will be hiring the current members from Homage, and recognizing both seniority and the current labor agreement between Homage and ATU.  We have been negotiating minor changes to the contract as well as wages for 2021 and beyond. The transition will be complete by September 30 to take effect October 1, 2020. 

Last week we had a very productive meeting with Transdev regarding medical benefits. They shared that there will be no new deductible for the remainder of the 2020 enrollment year, when Homage transitions to the new employer, but there will be a small window of time for an open enrollment for the remaining 2020 year.  They will have another open enrollment period in November for calendar year 2021.  When we have finalized our agreement in writing, Transdev will be circulating important information about the benefits plan and the open enrollment process. 

First Transit Everett:

The cost of living increase that was owed to our members since June 1, 2020 has finally been paid for all retroactive amounts owed and applied to base pay going forward, after months of our members waiting far beyond the timeline we agreed upon.  Getting this issue resolved took months of effort on ATU’s part, ending with our attorneys notifying First Transit of our intent to file a lawsuit. 

We have noticed a significant increase in management using LYTX data to council and retrain our members. This is implementation without bargaining, and we believe constitutes a violation of labor law. The Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge we filed last year has been deferred by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to the grievance process. We provided FTE with available dates to meet to bargain, and had received no response until earlier this week, when we notified them of our intent to pursue legal action.  The remedy we are seeking is to bargain implementation, remove any reference to LYTX from member files, and reinstate any applicable missed pay. 

We would like to welcome new First Transit Executive Board Officers Lance Mann and Steve Becker. Thank you both for stepping up to fill these vacancies and for all your hard work keeping us regularly updated with issues affecting our members. We look forward to working together with you!

There are currently no employees on layoff status at First Transit Everett. The service change for September included an increase of approximately 5% in commuter service hours, which was great news.

We recently welcomed three new members in a training class and First Transit is planning another class of four to start at the end of September!

First Transit Lakewood: 

Just like at our Everett location, we have noticed a significant increase in management using LYTX data to council and retrain our members. We have received reports from our Executive Officers that members are being called in to management for taking off their mask for any reason while on duty, or for taking a drink when in the driver’s seat. This borders on harassment and is another example of the micro- management we work under when LYTX cameras are installed. These should not be ‘triggering events’ for a video pull and must not be used in any way by the LYTX system. 

Also like FT Everett, the NLRB deferred our ULP regarding the LYTX system’s use and implementation to the grievance process and we are now awaiting dates from their attorney. We look forward to sharing with you a progress update soon. 

FT Lakewood will sustain the current practice of continuing to guarantee drivers their 35 hours/week and extending the furlough status of the current 16 drivers on furlough. In August, a total of five drivers were recalled, four remain in active status.

Last month we ratified and signed the FT Lakewood Supervisors/Dispatch/Payroll Clerk labor agreement. We were successful in gaining a 3% retro-active COLA.  3% will apply annually through March 31, 2022. It was a long time coming, and retro check amounts ranged from approximately $2,000 - $6,300, coming at a time when it is most needed. 

We want to recognize the hard work and dedication of our Executive Board Officers Roy Ott and Steven Politz, in keeping us appraised of all the things that affect our members. Occasionally during this pandemic, we have had safety related issues with pick-ups at certain care facilities. Whenever this has happened, thanks to Roy and Steve, we were able to be in immediate communication with First Transit Lakewood and Pierce Transit, to advocate for our members.   

Island Transit:

Union member Mike Beech has been appointed to the Executive Board for Island Transit. Welcome to the team Mike, we look forward to working with you!

Unfortunately, we lost the arbitration over member Therese Varney’s termination, which was held in May.  This was a case we felt very strongly about, and the membership agreed when we voted to take this to arbitration.  While we are thankful to have this one last avenue of recourse available for union members, we recognize that as in any case where two sides place the decision in the hands of a third party, we risk getting a bad decision.  Our attorneys did a great job representing her and in all the months of preparation leading up to the actual arbitration. We truly believe that this case should have resulted in a win.

We will be resuming Labor Management meetings via ZOOM, as required by the CBA, every other month starting in October. 

Due to the unprecedented times we are in with COVID, ATU had mutually agreed with all of our properties to pause grievance hearings temporarily.  We are now resuming grievance hearings at Island Transit, which will be conducted virtually.  

As with so many aspects of our lives, both at work and at home, many things have had to be placed on hold due to the COVID pandemic.  At Island Transit, this included beginning contract negotiations. We will be mirroring the same efforts we are taking at Community Transit by soliciting feedback through our board officers as well as holding virtual meetings with the members. We intend to begin bargaining with Island Transit after this research is completed.  Stay tuned for further updates.

We thank everyone, members as well as management for the patience and grace everyone has displayed while we have had to transition into this new normal. We know of no one in our line of work who is a “Pandemic Expert” and this year has been quite a challenge, to say the least! 

On behalf of all our ATU Officers, we wish you all calm, comfort and health, now and always. Stay safe!