Congratulations to bargaining team members Daniel Gonzalez, Dave Rukke, Randy Eshelman, Vince Espinoza and alternate Renae Eshelman, with help from Joe Cartino and Troy Barnard of SEIU 503, for leading the Wilsonville City Transit workers to a hard-fought tentative agreement this past week. When votes were counted Friday, Aug. 24, members had overwhelmingly ratified the new contract.
The transit workers stepped up, many for the first time, to get to this agreement. More than 70% of the workers signed the best community service banner in their break room and collected approximately 100 community support postcards, which they delivered to the Wilsonville city manager on Monday, Aug. 20.
There were reported incidents of anti-union managers pressuring some members of the bargaining team, along with several anti-union proposals the team had to fight, including merit pay. Given the challenges this team faced with the breakaway of the rest of the City workers and a very conservative City Council pushing for a 10% premium share (which the City offset with a COLA), bargaining team members reached the best possible agreement they felt they could get.
Transit workers will receive a .5% base wage increase on Oct. 1, followed by a 1.5% increase next July, 2.5% in July 2014 and .5% in January 2015. The City will continue to pay 92% of the monthly healthcare premium (status quo) until January 2015, when the City will contribute 90% of the monthly premium.
Work out of classification language was significantly improved. When a worker is assigned in writing to do work of a higher classification for more than four hours in the workday, the employee will be compensated at 5% above their current salary for each hour worked in the higher classification.
Other improvements include increased notice if the City plans to contract out, a greater number of uniformed pants provided, and language making it clear that the City shall pay for the basic examination when an employee is required to undergo a physical exam for licensing or certifications.