RTS Contract Negotiations Head to Arbitration as Union Rejects City's Latest Offer
Published May 1st, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The City of Gainesville and members of the union representing city bus drivers are heading to arbitration after a last-ditch effort to settle their ongoing pay dispute failed.
On Wednesday, city officials met with members of the Amalgamated Transit Union to present their latest offer.
While it still included a one-and-a-half percent pay raise for all city bus drivers, the city's new plan did not include the progressive pay scale that union members have been pushing for, causing them to reject the offer.
"The city just doesn't invest in the transit operators. They have a high turnover rate," said Gary Rauen, vice president of the ATU International.
"The retention was one of the things [the city] tried to address today, but the retention doesn't address the people who have been here for 20 or 25 years, that are just nowhere near top rates of pay," said Rauen.
City officials say the progressive pay plan -- which would award automatic raises to drivers based on their time served -- would be too expensive and exceed the amount of money the city commission has budgeted for raises.
The union's rejection means the impasse declared back in January still holds.
Both sides will now meet before an independent arbitrator in June.
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