TARC employees push for negotiations as labor contract nears expiration

Workers have 3 days more to negotiate with TARC leaders before their contract expires August 31st.
Workers have 3 days more to negotiate with TARC leaders before their contract expires August 31st.
Published: Aug. 27, 2022 at 10:46 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - More than a hundred union employees met in Downtown Louisville Saturday to protest working conditions under The Transit Authority of River City (TARC).

Union workers said safety and higher wages are among their top concerns as TARC employees.

”To let TARC and the city of Louisville know that they are very very unhappy with how they are being treated by the Transit Authority of the River City during negotiations for a fair contract,” Bill Londrigan, Kentucky AFL-CIO said.

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local President Lillian Brents said TARC is offering 1% annual pay raises during the next 3-year contract.

”We are asking for wages to where we don’t have to work 50 and 60 hours overtime to put food on the table for our families,” Lilian Brents ATU 1447 President said.

President of the ATU Union Lilian Brents claimed management was offered 2% wage increase for the drivers and a 3% for their maintenance workers.

”That itself is an insult. We work rain, sleet and the snow. Civil unrest. no matter what, we have been moving this city,” Brents said.

A spokesperson for TARC, however, said the union is asking for a 50% wage increase for drivers over the 3-year deal.

TARC Marketing and Communications Director Jenny Recktenwald said in a previous email sent to Wave News: “(Union-proposed) increases would equal a $55 million increase in TARC’s operating budget over the next three years, which would result in TARC running out of money by the end of 2024.”

The union said they’ve already met with management 10 times to ask for contract negotiations, but have been denied.

They wish Metro Council would show more support.

”Why are we hiring a union corporate lawyer to negotiate? How much are we paying him? How much is that costing the city of Louisville to drag on these negotiations instead of coming to a fair contract,” Londrigan said.

The Union says if common ground is not reached by August 31, TARC could run out of drivers.

”If we want the city to continue to move, then we need to take care of the people that is doing it,” Brents said.

The ATU has also complained of problems with security, from disruptive passengers to broken radios.

WAVE reached out to TARC for an updated response to Saturday’s protest but did not hear back.