Union reaches tentative contract agreement following Mayor Wu’s intervention
On March 31, 2022, the membership voted unanimously to reject the Company’s 4th “Last, Best and Final Offer”. We, your Negotiating Committee, were unanimous in our recommendation to reject. We believed that there was more progress to be made. You sent us back to the table with a clear directive that we finish this process at City Hall, knowing that the Mayor has the authority and that the anti-union attitude and conduct of Transdev and BPS representatives were obstructing progress.
In March, we recognized the substantial progress that we had already made, including frontloaded money in fully retroactive wages of 5.1%, the largest first-year increase in our union’s history. This – combined with the retention and expansion of our uniquely valuable benefits, including best-in-the-region family Health Insurance with only a $5 co-pay, weekly 401K matches, Vision, Dental, Sickness & Accident/Long Term Disability, 11 Holidays, Paid cancelations, personal days, and bereavement leave, family Life Insurance, etc. – adds up to the real full-value rate for Boston drivers, which is the absolute highest in the region, double and triple other school bus drivers.
The Union was able to force the withdrawal of over a dozen of Transdev/BPS’s most anti-worker concession demands, like strengthening the boss’s ability to fire us, attacking standby rights, and eliminating hard-won union working conditions. Notwithstanding these gains, we needed and deserved more. We were determined to fight to correct the historic discriminatory and cruel retirement injustices faced by us, our families and our deceased members, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Offer Adds Significant Retiree Opportunities and Rights, Addresses Historic Discrimination
On May 16, 2022, the Union met with Mayor Wu in her Eagle Room (without Transdev/BPS) with the objective of concluding a just contract. She expressed her deep concern to conclude our contract, given the current, imminent threat of a State takeover (receivership) of Boston Public schools, a move which could override her authority and vacate union contracts.
Without a concluded agreement drivers would be in serious jeopardy – contract rights, economics, retro pay, etc. We spent nearly 10 hours in the Eagle room and continued the process at the Union Hall on May 18th, where the union reached a Tentative Agreement on a new offer, including significant improvement to economics and retirement union rights. It also addresses an historic injustice to our deceased members. The Negotiating Committee with the USW International met on May 19th and, without objection, is strongly recommending ratification of this new agreement.
- Retirement Justice
Immediately year one – 35 retirement severance slots. 10 of these slots are for our recently dearly departed sisters and brothers, with an additional 5 for those who died at the beginning of the COVID emergency March 2020-June 2021, Charlie Hoy, William Dooley, Fred Green, John Cheevers, and Maximo O’Neal. There are 5 more slots for deceased drivers in year 1 (to be rolled over to next year if not used). The offer we rejected had only 15 slots and NO retirement justice for our deceased members.
Year two – 35 slots, including 10 for deceased plus any roll over from year one
Year three – 35 slots, including 10 for deceased plus any rollover
Retirement severance increased to $1100 per year service
- Wages – School Rate
Year 1: Immediate & Fully Retroactive to July 1, 2021 – 5.1% $28.00 ($1.35 increase)(Over Time @ $42.00)
More than $3 Million in new, frontloaded wages. Average Real Full-Value (wages + benefits) Hourly Rate results in average $85,577 yearly total compensation, with half of the workforce making significantly more.
Year 2: July 1 2022 (in one month) – 2% $28.56 (Over Time @ $42.84)
Average Real Full-Value (wages + benefits) Hourly Rate results in average $88,558 yearly compensation.
Year 3: July 1, 2023 – 2% $29.13 (Over Time @ $43.70)
Average Real Full-Value (wages + benefits) Hourly Rate results in average $91,204 yearly compensation.
Year 1: Immediate & Retro $18.00 (OT @ $27.00)
Year 2: – $18.36 (OT @ $27.54)
Year 3 – $18.42 (OT @ $27.63)
- Increase the Minimum Weekly Flat Rate for the first time in 35 years, from 25 to 31 hours.
- New Driver Recruitment, Training and Licensing program. Transdev/BPS will immediately initiate an aggressive hiring program to recruit, train and license greater Boston residents, particularly in Communities of Color. No longer will holding a CDL/School bus license be a precondition for the job. The company will give a $4,000 New Hire Bonus. In addition to remedying the profound driver shortage, this Union-demanded hiring program will also give a long overdue opportunity for good union jobs for the community, including our friends and family. Of course, USW Bus Monitors will continue to have Absolute Preference in hiring and upgrade training.
- Covid 19 – The Union will partner with the City of Boston, Boston Public Health Commission, BPS and the company to address issues related to COVID 19. This is in addition to their agreement commitments from this past Fall.
- The company will solicit a Request for Proposasl from dental insurance carriers including Delta Dental.
- Accident vs Incident dollar amounts increase July 2021 – $760; July 2022 – $780; July 2023 – $800
- Sickness & Accident rate increases July 2021 – $350; July 2022 – $375; July 2023 – $400
- 401K – Future protection for continued Union administration and service for the 401k Plan and member participants. Wage increases, including the retro payments, will be reflected in additional 401K employer contributions at 3.6% of the gross total, now nearly $2 million a year.
- Paid Holidays – Strike the phrase “Thanksgiving Day plus” and revise as follows: “Paid Holidays. Indigenous Peoples Day, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day plus eight (8) floating holidays to be designated at the beginning of the school year which coincide with school holidays…” The Union will refer to the 4th Thursday in November as “National Day of Mourning”
- Remaining concessions – While all the most serious concessions were beaten back, the remaining few include limiting the duration of the Emergency leave to 15 days with an additional 15 upon request. The bosses’ initial demand was to eliminate Emergency leave in total. Of course, drivers have access to the 13 weeks of federal and state paid Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and all the other CBA leaves to address their needs. Tardiness – Drivers who arrive late but the standby has not begun their inspection check shall have the right to do their run. Otherwise, the standby will do the report, late driver will only get paid if they are given other work or once a quarter put in for a personal day. Codify the company Dry Runs policy – Following the selection of a route and prior to the first active day of the route, drivers must complete their Dry Runs. Paid at Charter rate. Drivers who fail to complete their Dry run may be subject to discipline.
- The Mayor and BPS will sign new Letters of Agreement A and B dated to 2025. Since 1991 the agreements provide Job, Contract and Union Rights guarantees should the City decide to change employers.
The Company’s 5th “Last, Best and Final Offer” represents literally millions of dollars of progress for our members, our families, retirees and the families of our deceased members. It makes significant progress to righting historic discriminatory wrongs against us. And it provides a new Community Jobs Program based on the best school bus compensation in the region, vital to ensuring both continued professional service to the children and families we serve and continued strength and security to Local 8751.
We believe that this is the best that we can get at this time, even if we had a strike during this historic pandemic. It is also critical that we ratify and get our economics in our pockets, and in particular our retro, before any anti-union State “receivership” intervention that could threaten these hard-won gains.
We know that it is the fighting history of Local 8751, our reputation and determination that have achieved these gains, even without a strike. The City and bus company know we are serious about achieving our justice.
Come to Tuesday’s Membership Ratification meeting. All OUT! Let your voice be heard.
Let’s finish the job, get our well-deserved retro now, and secure justice for retirees and our deceased members.