TEAMSTERS LOCAL 533
NORTHERN NEVADA/NORTHEASTERN CALIFORNIA

Teamsters Local 533 2009


Bob Sworden of Fallon named to Teamsters Local 533 board of trustees
Lahontan Valley News / 6-27-2009

Teamsters Local 533 announces new officers
Reno Gazette-Journal 6-26-2009

Sunday, 18 Jan. 2009 5:40 p.m. PST / 01:40 ZULU/GMT 19 Jan. 2009 — Teamsters Union members on Sunday overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with the operator of the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County's RTC Ride bus system. Click here for the full story.

Keep RTC Access accessible to the local disabled
Daily Sparks Tribune 1-25-2009

Talks unproductive: Stay tuned
U-News 9-11-2008

Talks resume
Reno Gazette-Journal 9-9-2008
Phone callers to Barbwire.TV warn that a strike remains imminent

EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: Talks collapse, union basically dared to strike
U-News July 2, 2008

Teamsters Union rejects RTC contract proposal 130-2
DailySparksTribune.com 6-15-2008

Have a few laughs — Read the rejected offer for yourself
Download in Microsoft Word format

Union files charges of illegal unfair labor practices
U-News 6-15-2008

Bus drivers reject contract offer
Service continues as negotiations resume
Reno Gazette-Journal / rgj.com 6-15-2008

DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN?
HOT AUGUST STRIKE 2002 — Longtime RTC driver and Teamsters shop steward George Thrower, standing, works on a picket sign. Then-union Business Agent Mark Tracy supervises at right.



January 18, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Mark Tracy (775) 348-6060, ext. 12

Teamsters vote 115 to 15 to ratify new three-year contract with Reno-Sparks-Washoe bus system

Work rules stay in place; wages and benefits increased

RENO, Nev. (1-18-2009) – Teamsters Union members on Sunday overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with the operator of the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County's RTC Ride bus system. The vote was 115 to approve with only 15 against.

The contract includes three years of wage increases starting with three percent retroactive to June and additional raises of 2.5 percent in the second and third years of the agreement. It also provides for additional employer contributions to health care and pension funds.

"At a time when employees nationwide are taking pay cuts or having wages frozen, this contract is a true rarity," stated Teamsters Local 533 Secretary-Treasurer Mark Tracy.

The new contract also keeps longstanding work rules in place. The work rules issue brought the system close to its second strike in six years.

"They were trying to unilaterally take away employee rights which have been guaranteed under federal law since 1935," Tracy stated.

"Work rules have never been a major sticking point before and we were puzzled that guidelines which have worked successfully for a dozen years were put in play," Tracy noted.

"We resisted all company provocations to push us to strike," Tracy added. "A walkout was in no one's best interest. Management was trying to put us out on the street and permanently replace us with strikebreakers. We would not play that union-busting game," Tracy said.

"We have lost 10 full time workers in RTC Ride cutbacks, but their seniority is protected and they will be the first re-hired," Tracy said.

The RTC/Ride bus system is managed by Transit Management of Washoe, Inc., a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based First Transit, which is owned by FirstGroup of Great Britain. The publicly owned and taxpayer subsidized RTC/RIDE system is managed by three TMW/First Transit executives for a fee of about $400,000.00 per year.

Teamsters Local 533 represents about 2,200 workers in a variety of businesses and government agencies throughout the region, including all 183 RTC/RIDE drivers, dispatchers and customer service personnel of whom 156 are union members.

Negotiations have been ongoing since last March. The previous contract expired on June 12.

On June 15, union members voted 130 to 2 to reject management's "last, best and final" offer. TMW system manager Mike Steele agreed to come back to the bargaining table less than two hours after the voting results were announced. The workers also voted almost unanimously to authorize a strike in April. The union struck the bus system for the first time ever in 2002.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County is comprised of five elected officials: Reno City Councilmembers David Aiazzi and Dwight Dortch; Sparks Councilmember Ron Smith and Washoe County Commissioners Bob Larkin and David Humke.

The history of RTC and Teamsters relations dating back more than a decade may be accessed at NevadaLabor.com

___________________________
Teamsters Union contact
Mark Tracy (775) 348-6060, ext. 12

RTC/RIDE Bus System TMW-First Transit contact
Mike Steele (775) 335-1834
e-mail msteele@rtcwashoe.com


First Transit/Gayle Gray
Vice President, Human Resources
http://www.firsttransit.com/overview_mgmt.php#anchor_gray

Slapped in the face by the gauntlet now thrown down

RENO, Nev. (U-News Exclusive, Wednesday, July 2, 2008) – Callers to Barbwire.TV this afternoon broke the news of the collapse of negotiations between minions of the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County and Teamsters Union Local 533.

Representatives of the foreign-owned management company which runs the publicly owned transit system reiterated their "last, best and final offer" which the workers overwhelmingly turned down 103-2 on June 15.

Teamsters Secretary-Treasurer Mark Tracy said "I think (the vote) sent out a resounding message to (RTC) that they need to get back to the table and negotiate a fair contract….(It) was not about economics, not about raises, not about pension costs; it was totally about not giving up their rights and that’s what the company wants to do," Tracy told the Sparks Tribune after the vote.

Tracy called the proposed contract "way short of near the middle" for the union.

"(RTC) just wanted to take their marbles and go home because we wouldn’t give them what they wanted," Tracy told the newspaper.

After negotiations collapsed today, Steele vaguely threatened to unilaterally eliminate longstanding work rules now that the union contract has expired. Mr. Steele's management contract has also expired, begging the question of whose interest is being served by all of this stonewalling.

Teamsters principal officer Tracy asked Mr. Steele and his Texas-based attorney about the recent revelation by First Transit Vice-President of Human Resources Gayle Gray. Last week, she told a Teamsters executive that the order to draw a line in the sand on the issue of work rules came from the Regional Transportation Commission itself and was not done at the management company's initiative.

The lawyer refused to answer the question, merely stating that he was fully authorized to negotiate.

If this is negotiation, the Cold War is not over because somebody is following the old Soviet Union's playbook.

Winston Churchill once advised that there was only one thing you could depend on in dealing with the Russians: "They will always act in their own interest."

Da.

"They are trying to unilaterally take away the rights of the employees," Tracy stated, "rights which have been guaranteed to workers under federal law since 1935. The big question now is who gave the order to change course," Tracy said.

Wages and benefits have barely been discussed in comparison to the quibbling on work rules.

Mr. Steele's much-touted offer of a "nine percent pay raise over three years" is actually a pay cut. Inflation for the western U.S. has stands at 8.329 percent for the past 12 months. (See below.)

Teamsters Local 533 represents about 2,200 workers in a variety of businesses and government agencies throughout the region, including about 170 RTC/RIDE drivers, dispatchers and customer service personnel.

The previous contract expired on June 12. On June 15, union members voted 130 to 2 to reject management's "last, best and final" offer. Mr. Steele agreed to come back to the bargaining table less than two hours after the voting results were announced. The union struck the bus system for the first time ever in 2002.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County is comprised of five elected officials: Reno City Councilmembers David Aiazzi and Dwight Dortch; Sparks Councilmember John Mayer and Washoe County Commissioners Bob Larkin and David Humke.

The publicly owned and taxpayer subsidized RTC/RIDE system is managed by three executives from First Transit, a subsidiary of a foreign corporation, for a fee of $395,760.00 per year.

The workers almost unanimously voted to authorize a strike in April. The June 15 secret ballot constituted a second strike authorization vote under the Teamsters constitution.

The history of RTC and Teamsters relations dating back more than a decade may be accessed at NevadaLabor.com

____

Inflation for the western United States for the past 12 months is 8.329 percent: 221.009 for May '08 less 212.680 from June 2007 = +8.329

(Seasonally adjusted. Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

 

Teamsters Union contacts
Mark Tracy (775) 348-6060, ext. 12
Rick Middleton (310) 345-7274

RTC/RIDE Bus System First Transit contact
Mike Steele (775) 335-1834

First Transit
Gayle Gray, Vice-President, Human Resources

The RTC RIDE bus system is managed by Transit Management of Washoe, Inc., a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based First Transit, which is owned by First Group of Great Britain.


Just following orders: Bus system management company says Regional Transportation Commission ordered stonewalling on issues leading to impasse and potential strike

Negotiations with Teamsters Union resume Tuesday, July 1, 2008
RENO (June 30, 2008) — The company that manages the Reno-Sparks-Washoe bus system says it was just following orders in making formerly uncontested work rules a make-or-break issue in negotiations with the Teamsters Union
.
The RTC/Ride bus system is managed by Transit Management of Washoe, Inc., a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based First Transit, which is owned by FirstGroup of Great Britain.

"We have proceeded under the assumption that bus system manager Mike Steele made work rules the issue at his own initiative," stated Teamsters Local 533 Secretary-Treasurer Mark Tracy.

"Work rules have never been a major sticking point before and we have been somewhat puzzled that guidelines which have worked successfully for a dozen years are now in play," Tracy added.

A new perspective was added to the mix after a recent conversation between two higherups.

"I have dealt with First Transit in contract negotiations all over the country," stated Teamsters International Representative Rick Middleton.

"They know that I level with them and they have always leveled with me. I was somewhat surprised when Gayle Gray, First Transit's Vice-President of Human Resources, told me that the stumbling block did not come from her people.

"In a recent conversation, she told me that First Transit has been acting on direct orders from the Regional Transportation Commission. She said that 'work rules are not our issue' and that 'RTC says they can't live with the current work rules anymore.'

"I found that astounding and immediately relayed that information to Mark Tracy," Middleton said. He chairs the international union's school bus and mass transit division.

"They are trying to unilaterally take away the rights of the employees," Tracy stated, "rights which have been guaranteed to workers under federal law since 1935. The big question now is who gave the order to change course.

"I will ask that question tomorrow."

Negotiations on a new three-year contract resume on July 1 at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks. A federal mediator will again participate.

Teamsters Local 533 represents about 2,200 workers in a variety of businesses and government agencies throughout the region, including about 170 RTC/RIDE drivers, dispatchers and customer service personnel.

The previous contract expired on June 12. On June 15, union members voted 130 to 2 to reject management's "last, best and final" offer. Mr. Steele agreed to come back to the bargaining table less than two hours after the voting results were announced. The union struck the bus system for the first time ever in 2002.


The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County is comprised of five elected officials: Reno City Councilmembers David Aiazzi and Dwight Dortch; Sparks Councilmember John Mayer and Washoe County Commissioners Bob Larkin and David Humke.


Teamsters Union contacts
Mark Tracy (775) 348-6060, ext. 12
Rick Middleton (310) 345-7274

RTC/RIDE Bus System First Transit contact
Mike Steele (775) 335-1834

First Transit
Gayle Gray, Vice-President, Human Resources


130 NO vs. 2 YES
Teamsters overwhelmingly reject Reno-Sparks bus system contract offer (98% no, 2% yes)


Union has filed charges of illegal unfair labor practices against Regional Transportation Commission
and foreign-owned management company


RENO, Nev. (June 15) — Less than two hours after the votes were counted on Sunday, RTC boss Mike Steele called Teamsters Local 533 Secretary-Treasurer Mark Tracy and said that bus system representatives would return to the bargaining table as soon as Steele can contact his Texas lawyer about her availability.

Read the rejected contract offer Microsoft Word download

Washoe County bus drivers, dispatchers and support staff voted to reject the transportation system's offer by a near-unanimous vote of 130 to two (with one ballot disqualified for mis-marking).

Last Thursday, the union filed charges of illegal unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board against the bus system serving Washoe County and a portion of Carson City.

"By serving us with a 'last, best and final offer' on Tuesday, management violated the National Labor Relations Act by bargaining in bad faith," Tracy said.

"They are trying to unilaterally take away the rights of the employees," Tracy added, "rights which have been guaranteed to workers under federal law since 1935."

Major issues include RTC/RIDE's push to rewrite or eliminate work rules, reduction in the number of months allowed for leaves of absence and refusal to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., Day with a full holiday schedule allowed to other holidays, a chronic situation condemned by the Reno-Sparks NAACP.

"They halted negotiations...when their attorney said, ‘If I can’t get the work rules I want...I’m just going back home to Texas,’ " Tracy told the Sparks Tribune. "There was plenty of time to negotiate, plenty of time for an agreement to be reached and be made," Tracy said.

"I think now with 130 employees saying no, I think the ball is in (RTC’s) court," he continued. "It sends a message loud and clear to this company that there’s something horribly wrong with this company," he told the Tribune.

"Mr. Steele wants to turn his company into a plantation and his workers into slaves," Tracy noted to the Reno Gazette-Journal last week.

At Steele's request, Tracy informed the union members on Sunday that Steele has threatened to deduct the costs of any strike from the final bargaining agreement.

The workers did not respond favorably to the threat.

Teamsters Local 533 represents about 2,200 workers in a variety of businesses and government agencies throughout the region, including about 170 RTC/RIDE drivers, dispatchers and customer service personnel.

A total of 162 members were eligible to vote on Sunday, with 133 or 82 percent casting ballots.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County is comprised of five elected officials: Reno City Councilmembers David Aiazzi and Dwight Dortch; Sparks Councilmember John Mayer and Washoe County Commissioners Bob Larkin and David Humke.

The publicly owned and taxpayer subsidized RTC/RIDE system is managed by three executives from First Transit, a subsidiary of a foreign corporation, for a fee of $395,760.00 per year.

The workers almost unanimously voted to authorize a strike in April. Sunday's secret ballot constitutes a second strike authorization vote under the Teamsters constitution.

The history of RTC and Teamsters relations dating back more than a decade may be accessed at NevadaLabor.com

 

Contract negotiations might bring public transportation to a halt
Teamsters vote on Sunday, June 15
Daily Sparks Tribune 6-12-2008

Teamsters and Reno bus system to resume talks on June 7
Foreign-owned managers offer a pay cut disguised as a one percent per year raise
Reno Gazette-Journal 6-4-2008

 

Management requests federal mediator for stalled Reno-Sparks bus system talks with Teamsters Union
Negotiations resume Thursday / Contract expires June 12, 2008


RENO, Nev., 5-13-2008 (UNews) — A federal mediator has been called in to assist in stalled talks between the foreign-owned management company operating the Reno-Sparks bus system and the union representing workers.

Strike possible if no contract
KTVN TV-2/ 5-13-2008

Video of this story available for a limited time at KTVN.com

"I have been part of these negotiations for a decade," stated Teamsters Union Local 533 Secretary-Treasurer Mark Tracy, "and this is very early in the process for management to call for help from the feds."

Tracy noted that a long list of issues remain unresolved.

"Last Saturday to try to move things along, I presented a resolution from the Reno-Sparks NAACP asking management to honor the Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday, something which the Regional Transportation Commission has turned down in the past and did so again earlier this year. The company did not move," Tracy noted.

The NAACP resolution states that "the Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday has for years been the only holiday treated as a weekday with all buses running. This policy not only deprives many employees from celebrating King Day with their families but also costs the system money by running full service despite lower holiday passenger loads," the document continues, adding that "the system has recently had to substantially increase rates."

The resolution further notes that "RTC's Access (formerly CitiLift) system treats the King Holiday as a full holiday." The Access program serves senior citizens and disabled individuals and is operated by a separate management company. The full resolution is available at renosparksnaacp.org

The RTC RIDE bus system is managed by Transit Management of Washoe, Inc., a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based First Transit, which is owned by FirstGroup of Great Britain.

"I am doing everything I can to avoid a strike next month," Tracy said, "but my members are sick and tired of being sick and tired. In 1999, management cut their pay by imposing below-cost-of-living wage hikes despite the fact that the elected commissioners had authorized an amount which would have given them a small raise. They will never get that money back. We came close to a strike and the management company wasted more than $100,000 bringing in unauthorized strikebreakers who never did a minute's work," Tracy said.

"This year, RTC RIDE system manager Mike Steele and his Texas attorney have proposed a large number of disagreeable changes to working conditions which they want to negotiate before we get to pay and benefits. When they can't even agree to honor Dr. King and save money at the same time, one wonders if they are bargaining in good faith," Tracy asserted.

"The contract expires on June 12, 2008, and the Teamsters are not bluffing," Tracy stated.

The union struck the bus system for the first time ever in 2002. Tracy was elected secretary-treasurer in 2004.

Teamsters Local 533 represents about 2,200 workers in a variety of businesses and government agencies throughout the region, including more than 150 RTC/RIDE drivers, dispatchers and customer service personnel.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County is comprised of five elected officials: Reno City Councilmembers David Aiazzi and Dwight Dortch; Sparks Councilmember John Mayer and Washoe County Commissioners Bob Larkin and David Humke.

Talks resume at 3:00 p.m. this Thursday, May 15, at the Airport Plaza Hotel in Reno. A federal mediator will participate.



CONTACT INFORMATION

MARK TRACY, Secretary-Treasurer
Teamsters Union Local 533 (775) 348-6060 ext. 12

RTC RIDE Bus System contact
Mike Steele (775) 335-1834

Transit Manager Mike Steele is employed by Transit Management of Washoe, Inc., a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based First Transit, which is owned by FirstGroup of Great Britain.

 

 

 

Always-tense negotiations underway with Regional Transportation System of Washoe County

8-5-2002 —A personal message to RTC Transit Manager Mike Steele


Reno-Sparks NAACP demands that RTC/Citifare fully honor King Holiday

RENO, Nev., May 10, 2008 (U-NEWS) — The foreign-owned management company which runs the local mass transit system has for many years refused to treat the Martin Luther King Holiday like the others recognized in its collective bargaining agreement.

In current contract talks, Teamsters Union Local 533 has proposed that the King holiday be treated the same as New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

That proposal has again been rejected, as it has been for many years.

The MLK holiday is the only one where the bus system is run as though it were normal weekday with more units in operation than necessary.

This means that many workers are not allowed to celebrate King Day with their families.

In addition, because the holiday passenger load is far less than that of a regular weekday, the full service operation runs with fewer patrons, costing the taxpayer-subsidized system even more money.

The Regional Transportation Commission recently raised rates to compensate for rising expenses but the managers have dismissed this opportunity to not only cut costs but to keep the spirit of the MLK holiday.

A separate management company runs the RTC/Access System for senior citizens and the disabled and fully honors the King holiday.

Because the King holiday is the only one with all buses running, it calls into question if there is any valid reason to not to treat this day like all other holidays.

If there is a reason, the workers have yet to hear it.

Reno-Sparks NAACP demands that RTC/Citifare fully honor King Holiday
RenoSparksNAACP.org / May 1, 2008

Teamsters 2004 Strike Archive

HOT AUGUST STRIKE 2: Teamsters/RTC-Citifare 2002 Strike Archive

Strike narrowly avoided: RTC/Citifare 1999

HOT AUGUST STRIKE 1 — Reno Hilton 1996

HOT AUGUST STRIKE 2002
Teamsters RTC/Citifare 2002 Strike Photo Gallery
HOT AUGUST STRIKE 2002
Teamsters RTC/Citifare 2002 Strike Photo Gallery

Reno-Sparks NAACP demands that RTC/Citifare fully honor King Holiday
RenoSparksNAACP.org / May 1, 2008

Teamsters 2004 Strike Archive

HOT AUGUST STRIKE 2: Teamsters/RTC-Citifare 2002 Strike Archive

Strike narrowly avoided: RTC/Citifare 1999

1997 UPS Strike

HOT AUGUST STRIKE 1 — Reno Hilton 1996

 

 

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