By Vic Baffoni
Vice President, Bus Department
Negotiations for improved wages, benefits and working conditions are Bus Department priorities in 2008.
Negotiations are underway in Locals 710 (Newark, N.J.), 1589 (New Brunswick, N.J.) and 1670 (Laredo, Texas).
Agreements held by six other locals expire this year: Local 1582 (Albany, N.Y.) in April; Locals 172 (Darby, Pa.), 1741 (San Francisco), and 1785 (Santa Monica, Calif.) in June; Local 23 (Santa Cruz, Calif.) in September; and Local 1596 (Charlotte, N.C.) in December.
In all cases, we seek affordable health-care benefits and preservation of work rules. Also important is protection from layoffs and contracting out.
The UTU International will be assisting, as requested. The sooner we start working in unison on these issues of crucial importance, the sooner management will recognize and respect the unity and determination of the UTU to negotiate equitable agreements on behalf of its members.
We received a letter from Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom the UTU supports for president, asking that our bus members note the following:
If elected president, she promises:
- To preserve labor protection for all federally funded transit programs;
- To push for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, ensuring workers have a fair chance to join a labor union;
- To expand access to paid leave, permitting workers a better balance of work and family commitments.