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UE Local 274 Secures Historic Wage Increases at Transit Authority

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GREENFIELD. MA—During 12 days of negotiations with the Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA), the members of amalgamated Local 274 used the threat of picketing and other escalating actions to secure a large wage increase, benefit improvements for all members, and the end of a two-tier system.

The workers won a 15.6 percent wage increase over the three years of the contract. They gained an extra dollar an hour for all on the weekend shift, and added Juneteenth as a new holiday. Non-economic gains include increased time for pre- and post-trip inspections and sick-bank language changes to make it easier to use. The members also negotiated for non-CDL van drivers to have the same time frame to reach the top step of their pay as CDL bus drivers, shortening their time to full benefits from 24 to 18 months. The wins in this contract came from a resolute bargaining team and membership who were prepared to use escalating action to win higher pay — and communicated those plans clearly to management.

“We have a great team of drivers and maintenance workers, said shop Co-President Laura Newton. “Together, we compiled a list of everything we wanted in order to get new employees and keep the ones we have. We knew we needed dollars added to our checks.

“We didn’t lose anything and we got a good [raise] so we look at it as a win/win!”

The Local 274 negotiation committee consisted of shop Co-Presidents Laura Newton and Bill Anderson and Secretary Elizabeth Sallee. Members Andrew Palmer and Eddie Acevedo acted as observers throughout bargaining. They were assisted by Field Organizer Sherry Bryant.


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