9-17-99 Citifare bus drivers and dispatchers (members of Teamsters Union Local 533) will today present a petition to the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County. They ask reinstatement to their paychecks of all money shunted toward strikebreakers for a work stoppage which never happened last June.
The issue is covered in full in shop steward Eileen Wiley's guest editorial in the 9-16-99 Reno Gazette-Journal.
The RTC hearing starts at 9:00 a.m. Friday at the Villanova Drive bus complex across from Wooster High School in Reno. (UPDATE: The commissioners turned them down.)
Ryder/ATE, Inc., the contract operator of the Citifare and Citilift systems for the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, is now foreign-owned. The company was sold on 9-13-99 to a British corporation.
The Daily Sparks Tribune, Thursday, 6-17-99, Page 1-A
A Teamsters Union contract vote on Sunday will determine whether or not Citifare bus drivers go on strike -- and union officials say it is a good possibility that the drivers will reject the contract.
Negotiators for Teamsters Local 533 and Transit Management of Washoe/ATE Ryder agreed last Saturday to send a contract proposal to a full union vote. However, what that means varies widely, depending on who is talking.
The Regional Transportation Commission which contracts with TMW/ATE Ryder to hire the Citifare bus drivers and has not been involved in the negotiations -- said negotiations led to "an agreement on contract terms."
Nancy Pearl, the director of marketing/communications for the RTC, said this morning she still would call what was reached on Saturday a "tentative agreement."
"They did not reach an impasse," Pearl said. "They agreed on all but a couple of terms."
However, Teamsters officials are saying they are merely presenting TMW/ATE Ryder's final contract proposal to their members.
"The ridership may have been lulled into a false
sense of security through press reports which have used terms like 'tentative
contract,'" said Lou Martino, the Teamsters Local 533 chief executive
Meanwhile, Pearl said the RTC and TMW/ATE Ryder are prepared for a strike should it happen.
"If there is a strike, we have a contingency plan in place to have service on routes one, 10 and 11, which are our busiest routes," she said.
Buses would be driven by supervisors, mechanics and newly hired drivers, according to the contingency plan.
The union had originally voted to strike at 12:01 a.m. last Saturday. However, it agreed not to strike until next Monday.
This is the second time in three years that Citifare bus service has been faced with a strike because of a contract dispute. In 1996, when the last contract expired, negotiations went up to the last day -- and were delayed a week by a death in the family of a TMW/ATE Ryder negotiator -- before a deal was reached. There was no interruption in bus services.
Contrary to erroneous reports, no tentative
agreement was reached
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
RENO, Nev. (June 16) - The head of the Teamsters Union today issued a warning that a countywide bus strike remains a very real possibility.
"The ridership may have been lulled into a false sense of security through press reports which used terms like 'tentative contract,'" stated Lou Martino, chief executive officer of Teamsters Local 533.
"The only contract, tentative or otherwise, is the one-week extension we signed extending work without a strike until Monday, June 21," the former Citifare driver added.
"We only agreed to present the final offer made by Ryder/ATE, Inc. Our negotiating committee will go over the facts with our members this Sunday. It is very possible that the workers will reject the offer," Martino said.
Last Saturday, the union announced that "round-the-clock negotiations resulted in a package to be presented for a union member vote on Sunday, June 20."
"Citifare put out a statement that an agreement had been reached. There was such divergence of coverage that we have linked print and television reports to the union website so that the news media and the public may compare," Martino said.
PAY CUT OFFERED: The company has asked the workers to take a pay cut for the next three years. The union reduced its wage demands to seven percent in the first year and three percent in both the second and third years to keep pace with inflation. Representatives of Ryder/ATE, Inc., offered one percent per year and have since upped it to two percent per year for three years.
THIS CONSTITUTES A PAY CUT. Inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index totaled 2.3 percent from May '98 through April '99 and shows an upward trend.
"During the first four months of 1999, the CPI-U (Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers) rose at a 3.3-percent seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). This compares with an increase of 1.6 percent for all of 1998," the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. (Id.)
"Ryder/ATE should not expect its workers to sacrifice when it will not," Martino said.
"The Ryder/ATE, Inc., contract with the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County calls for a four percent increase in its management fee every year from 1998 to 2003," he stated. The company's monthly management fee of $23,096 is scheduled to increase to $24,020 on July 1.
"Our contract three years ago kept our workers up with inflation and little more. We have basically been working for 1996 wages. This offer means that when the contract expires in 2002, we will be stuck somewhere in the past," Martino said.*
"Although we won our Teamster pension, no increase was offered in the second and third years. This is also unacceptable to the union," he added.
"The Regional Transportation Commission itself, which contractually retains great power over Ryder/ATE despite its hands-off public posture, budgeted a three percent raise for our workers this year. However, RTC has increased the pay ranges for its own staff as much as 47.78 percent in the past year," Martino said.
Telephone receptionists and couriers now top out at $37, 599.72 per year, a 28.11 percent increase over 1998. The finance manager's position rose 22.78 percent, although not everyone has the longevity to earn the top pay. (The full list of non-union salary increase line items is available by fax upon request.)
"The company's take-it-or-leave-it stonewalling on the wage and pension issues, combined with continuing advertisements for strikebreakers, leads to only one conclusion, that they want to replace everyone with lower-paid, inexperienced workers," Martino said.**
Ryder/ATE, Inc., is a subsidiary of Ryder System, Inc. of Miami, Florida, a multinational corporation. Its stock price comprises part of the Dow-Jones Transportation Index. The company has 45,000 employees and manages the Sparks-Reno bus system for the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County.
More than 100 RTC/Citifare drivers, dispatchers and customer service personnel are represented by Teamsters Union Local 533.
Teamsters members who work for RTC/Citilift, which specializes in transportation for the elderly and disabled, are not part of the potentially striking group. Citilift operations may be affected, Martino said, because some of those who use Citifare and qualify for Citilift service may place unusually high demand on Citilift capabilities.
Most Citifare and Citilift departments now operate under Local 533 contracts. The union represents workers at a very diverse group of private and public entities throughout northern Nevada and eastern California.
Martino is acting as lead union negotiator, as he has done in the past. As a Citifare driver a decade ago, he led the successful fight to unionize the system.
The company chose not to begin the complex negotiations until May 18. Nine out of every 10 RTC/Citifare union members voted to strike the Citifare bus system if a new contract was not reached by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 11, 1999. A work stoppage was narrowly averted in a late-night settlement in 1996.
NOTES AND SOURCES:
* The 1996-99 contract called for wage increases of 10.5% over three years. The consumer price index (CPI) has risen 9.5% in the 34 months since the contract was approved in June of 1996 through April of 1999, the last month available. When May and June of 1999 come in, the workers will have basically worked for no pay raise for the past three years. (Source: U.S. Department Of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C. 20212; Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers - (CPI-U), U.S. city average, all items, Page 1, 5-14-1999, 1982-84=100. (See the internal ftp link at the Consumer Price Index website.)
** An ad for drivers ran in the 6-15-99 Daily Sparks Tribune.
Ryder/ATE, Inc., is part of Ryder System, Inc. of Miami, Florida, a multinational corporation. Its stock price comprises part of the Dow-Jones Transportation Index. The company has 45,000 employees.
RYDER SYSTEM A GREAT PLACE TO WORK according to the corporate website:
"Ryder: Where Shaping The Future Of An Industry Creates Career Opportunities
"Ryder is respected for providing customers with the best value in logistics and transportation solutions-around the world or around the corner. Ryder is also one of the nation's most progressive employers, a company known for valuing unique talents, perspectives and backgrounds for the significant competitive advantages they bring"... (Emphasis added.)
"A position with Ryder is the gateway to a multitude of employment options in a complex business environment. Generally, we have openings in the following areas for bright, articulate and ambitious people...Professional School Bus Drivers, Professional Drivers," the Ryder corporate website states.
"Ryder: Where The Best & Brightest Belong," reads the headline on the Ryder employment opportunity page on the corporate website.
"Along with exceptional opportunities for growth, Ryder offers highly competitive compensation and full-featured benefits including medical/dental/life insurance, 401K, profit sharing and child/dependent care assistance...You can e-mail your resume in text format to firstname.lastname@example.org," the Ryder corporate site urges.
FROM THE RYDER SYSTEM CEO:
This is part of Ryder corporate CEO M. Anthony Burns' statement
"On behalf of our 45,000 employees, welcome to the Ryder web site," Burns states.
"Since its founding in 1933, Ryder has become the world's largest provider of integrated logistics and transportation solutions. As businesses exhaust cost-cutting measures in the traditional areas of price and quality, the ability to reduce costs in the delivery of products, warehousing and other logistics and transportation areas is becoming increasingly important. Ryder's transportation solutions are custom-designed to help businesses improve customer service, reduce inventory and speed products to market.
"Today with annual revenue of $5.2 billion and assets of $5.7 billion, Ryder is one of the 275 largest companies in the United States. Ryder's common stock, traded under the ticker symbol "R" on the New York Stock Exchange, is one of the 20 stocks that comprise the Dow Jones Transportation Average and is also a component of the Standard & Poor's Transportation Index. We do business in nine countries -- the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland...
"Ryder/ATE provides public transport contracting and management services to nearly 90 public transit organizations in such cities as Houston, Dallas and Cincinnati," Burns says.
The Daily Sparks Tribune Version:
Bus drivers agree to stay on the job another week
by Alyssa Exline
Citifare bus drivers will stay on the job for another week according to a deal worked out after 32 hours of bargaining with the employer Friday and Saturday. However, both parties say there are still several important matters to settle before a new contract can be signed.
Teamsters Union Local 533, representing about 170 Citifare bus drivers, and the Transit Management of Washoe, the company that manages the drivers, began negotiating a new contract on May 18. The previous contract expired at midnight Friday, turning negotiations into an around-the-clock priority.
Of the 51 issues on the table, the two sides disagreed on more than half of them. Control over the pension plan, wages and health care coverage were among the major barriers to an agreement.
Wage negotiations continue this week. TMW reportedly offered a combined 6 percent salary increase over two years.
[U-News editor's note: Management offered a combined six percent increase over THREE years.]
The union has lowered its request for a 17 percent increase over three years to a 13 percent increase over three years.
Negotiations will continue this week, and union members will decide whether or not to accept the contract in a June 20 vote. If they do not accept, union representatives say they will begin a strike June 21.
Nancy Pearl, director of communications for the Regional Transportation Commission, said she felt confident that a deal would be agreed upon without a strike.
"We're really delighted that there has been no interruption in service," she said.
Union spokesman Andrew Barbano, however, was not as optimistic.
"The (workers) won't strike for a week, that's all that's been done," Barbano said.
"From the tone of (union negotiator Lou Martino's) voice, he sure didn't sound excited about what the company was putting on the table."
(c) 1999 The Daily Sparks Tribune
KRNV TV-4's Version:
Citifare strike avoided
RENO, NV June 12 - One hundred and fifty Citifare bus drivers did not go on strike Friday night. Negotiators for the teamsters union and the Transit Management Company are still trying to hammer out a new contract.
After thirty hours straight of negotiations there is still no contract, but a possible solution for Citifare workers. Employees still do not have a contract they will agree to, but Saturday evening they were given a package deal that union members will vote on.
It has been a long two days for union leaders and the TMW. Since 9 a.m. Friday morning, they have been going back and fourth on contract issues dealing with wages, medical coverage and pension plans. Workers were set to strike Friday at midnight, but decided not to. Workers feel that as long as progress is being made, there is no reason to disrupt the bus system and no reason to make a hardship on the community.
George Thrower has been driving Citifare buses for 15 years, he says striking is not something the workers want to do, but he doesn't see another option.
"A strike would put a hardship on the other employees and their families," said Thrower.
"We want to settle, we want this fair, but the company doesn't want unions," said Rod Phillips, Citifare Driver.
Saturday, TMW did agree to pay 20 % of monthly medical care costs for dependents. It isn't what workers hoped for, but acceptable. Workers had asked for 100%. One point that has been difficult for the two sides to agree on is wages.
Workers say they are among the lowest paid drivers of similar size cities on the West Coast.
"The RTC receptionist makes $18 an hour to answer the phone and drivers make a lot less," said Lou Martino, Teamsters Union. The union is asking for a 7% wage increase the first year of the contract and another 3% the next two years. TMW says they are willing to pay 2% each year.
TMW, the company that contracts workers for Citifare, would not comment to News 4. A spokesperson said they want to work through negotiations in good faith and not in the media. Citifare bus drivers will vote on the proposal June 20th.
The Company Line
Regional Transportation Commission
Contact: Nancy Pearl, Director of Marketing/Communications 771-0628 (cell phone)
Citifare Buses to Roll Out as Scheduled
Reno, NV -- June 12, 1999 -- After negotiating throughout the night and into the day Saturday, Teamsters and Transit Management of Washoe (TMW) have reached an agreement on contract terms with no interruption of Citifare bus service. TMW is a private provider of coach operators, dispatchers and customer service representatives for the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) operating Citifare bus service. The RTC was not a party in the negotiations which began on May 18, 1999. This was a routine three-year contract negotiation and agreement was announced at 4:30 p.m. In the 20 years that TMW has worked with the RTC, there has never been a strike against Citifare.
"We are very pleased that the agreement was reached," said Derek Morse, Executive Director of the RTC. "Our primary concern has been ensuring that our customers continue to receive the level and quality of service they have come to rely on." Citifare has been recognized nationally for both quality and safety.
Buses are operating on their regular schedules throughout the Reno/Sparks area. For information on schedules, people may call 348-RIDE (7433).
The Reno Gazette-Journal's version:
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
SPARKS, Nev. (June 12, 5:00 p.m PDT) -- A countywide bus strike has been postponed for at least one week. Round-the-clock negotiations at John Ascuaga's Nugget have resulted in a package to be presented for a union member vote on Sunday, June 20.
In the interim, an agreement has been signed extending work without a strike until Monday, June 21.
Ryder/ATE, Inc., a subsidiary of Ryder System, Inc., manages the Sparks-Reno bus system for the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County. RTC/Citifare drivers, dispatchers and customer service personnel are represented by Teamsters Union Local 533.
Details of the proposed agreement are being worked out at this hour for presentation to the workers at the June 20 meeting.
The company chose not to begin the complex negotiations
until May 18. Nine out of every 10 RTC/Citifare union members voted to
strike the Citifare bus system if a new contract was not reached by 11:59
p.m. on Friday, June 11, 1999. A work stoppage was narrowly averted in
a late-night settlement in 1996.
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