TARC workers vote to ratify new contract
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Transit Authority of River City workers represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1447 voted to ratify a new contract following months of negotiations.
According to a release from the union, 78% of voting members voted yes on on the tentative agreement. The union represents more than 430 TARC employees, including bus drivers and radio dispatch workers.
TARC said the proposed agreement includes the largest wage percentage increase in TARC’s history, with a two-year term from Sept. 1, 2022 through Aug. 31, 2024.
Wages for workers will increase 6% in year one and 4% in year two, bringing the total wage increase to 10% over the contract term, TARC said.
The contract includes continued coverage of 95% of health insurance cost for all employees as well as increases in CDL reimbursement and uniform, shoe and tool allowances.
“I’m pleased that an agreement has been reached, and we’re proud to offer our Union employees a wage and benefits package that recognizes their hard work, dedication, and professionalism,” TARC Executive Director Carrie Butler said in a release. “With a new contract in place, we have much to celebrate and accomplish as we look ahead to the new year.”
The union said the gains made in the new contract come after workers voted to authorize a strike, which the union said was the first in TARC’s history.
“I want to be clear: we aren’t here because of the generosity of TARC,” Local 1447 President Lillian Brents said in a release. “We got here because Local 1447 members mobilized again and again, in the sweltering heat and freezing cold, to push back against a pattern of abuse, disrespect, and greed by TARC leadership.”
The union said TARC’s behavior had strengthened workers’ needs for long term change after accusing TARC of telling members the agreement had been ratified before voting had been completed and jeopardizing the final vote.
TARC had previously announced it had come to a tentative agreement with the ATU in early November, providing workers with an economic package worth nearly $10 million over two years and an hourly wage increase over two years.
Brents said there are more issues to address, but the contract ratification was a step in the right direction.
“There is not one cent in this agreement that we didn’t earn the hard way, and 1447 members should be proud, but that doesn’t mean the debt owed to us is fully paid,” Brents said.
The union claims it will shift its focus to incoming Louisville mayor Craig Greenberg and Metro City Council to improve working conditions and safety standards for TARC.
“I am proud of our TARC members,” ATU International President John Costa said. “They proved that they were willing to go to the mat to protect good union jobs for themselves and future generations of TARC workers. While this is a big victory, our members’ solidarity, strength, and unity show TARC management that we will continue to fight for improved working conditions and a better and safer transit system that TARC riders deserve.”
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