AC Transit and the union representing its bus drivers and mechanics reached a new three year contract deal on Tuesday after months of painful arbitration. Both parties were ordered to binding interest arbitration after the union took the agency to court over an imposed contract in July. The agreement will save the agency a projected $38 million over the life of the contract.
The new contract will require that union members make co-pays for medical visits and take a stepped-down pay decrease over the next three years (6 % in the first year, 5% in year two, and 3% in year three).
The agreement avoids the December implementation of deep weekend service cuts that could have been a debilitating blow to an already tested ridership that has borne both two rounds of cuts (amounting to over 14% of service) and a fare increase during the past year. AC Transit has also instituted management cuts and spending reductions during its fiscal crisis.
Interim General Manager Mary King issued a statement saying, “There are no winners or losers in this arbitration. Both AC Transit and the union focused on what is best for the riders and taxpayers of this district and what is in the long-term interest of maintaining public transit for the people we serve.”
Although the December cuts have been avoided for now, the agency will still be struggling with a budgetary deficit.
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