MTA Buses to Operate on Sunday/Holiday

Media Advisory
October 3, 2006
Patricia Harris-Morehead, (615) 880-3943 or
Wendy Smith, (615) 862-6194
MTA Union Cancels Contract Extension;
Announces Work Stoppage on Monday
NASHVILLE – Earlier today, the trustee for the Amalgamated Transit Union (Local 1235) notified the Davidson
Transit Organization that it was canceling the current labor contract extension that was agreed upon in October
The cancellation is effective Monday, October 9, 2006, according to the letter, which also announced a work
stoppage on Monday. The ATU represents bus drivers and mechanics at the Nashville Metro Transit
Authority. Officers for the Davidson Transit Organization, the employee management arm of the MTA, have
been negotiating in good faith with the ATU bargaining team since September 2005.
“We are very disappointed the ATU is planning to disrupt the lives of so many people who depend on us to
provide transportation services in our community,” said Nashville MTA Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Ballard.
“Here we are having recently cut bus service due to a $1.65 million shortfall in an extremely tight budget year,
and they are threatening to authorize a strike.”
The ATU bargaining team indicates they are willing to authorize a work stoppage due the following unresolved
1. Sick leave – ATU is demanding more paid sick leave.
2. Unexcused absences – ATU is demanding more time off for union employees. The DTO flex policy
allows emergency flex days with the company’s approval. ATU wants to remove this statement and
allow carte blanche flex days anytime without notice.
3. Triple time – ATU is not willing to agree to double-time-and-a-half on holidays.
4. Outside work – ATU wants repairmen to continue to cut the grass at MTA facilities and perform
janitorial work at the new Music City Central.
In its final proposal, DTO is offering the bus drivers and mechanics:
A generous 2.5 percent pay increase for each year of the proposed three-year contract for a total of 7.5
percent over the three years.
o All retirees and surviving spouses would receive the same increases.
o In 2005, six senior union bus drivers earned more than $70,000 with overtime. Thirty-two senior
union bus drivers earned $50,000 to $70,000 with overtime.
o The current average salary for bus operators is $36,000 a year, nearly $18 an hour.
Faster progression through the pay step scale for bus drivers.
o Senior operators would receive $19.36 an hour in the fourth year of employment instead of the
fifth year.
In addition, the DTO is offering a modest premium increase of only $5 per month for a major medical plan
that now costs an employee and his/her family $100 a month, but cost the MTA an average of $762 per
employee each month.
The health plan includes major medical, as well as dental and vision. Employees currently pay
only 10.4 percent of the total cost for such benefits.
o Most businesses, as well as local and state government employees, pay significantly more for
their health benefits. The average transit industry employee pays 22 percent.
Increased life insurance from $30,000 to $35,000, provided at no cost to employees.
Increased uniform allowance.
Increased bereavement leave.
DTO has asked for changes which are designed to remove unproductive work practices that have been added
into the contract over the years in prior negotiations, such as the:
Elimination of triple pay for union employees on holidays and offering double-time-and-a-half.
Changing paid lunch times to unpaid for mechanics and substituting two paid breaks per eight-hour
shift in addition to unpaid lunch. This overlaps maintenance work shifts by 30 minutes and provides
continuity in repair work. Typical businesses do not provide employees with a paid lunch.
Elimination of employees doing grass cutting and landscaping work and allowing firms to do this and
the janitorial work at the new downtown transfer station to be built in the future. This will allow our staff
to focus on core transit responsibilities such as keeping the buses in shape and repairing bus benches.
The DTO management team is working on a contingency plan in the event of a work stoppage. Additional
information will be posted to the Nashville MTA Web site
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