Contract with Janesville transit workers calls for 8.25 percent pay raise over three years

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Marcia Nelesen
Thursday, January 9, 2014

JANESVILLE--Janesville is poised to settle a three-year contract with its bus drivers and mechanics that includes wage increases totaling 8.25 percent over three years.

The tentative agreement is the result of six negotiating sessions and the help of a mediator from the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.

The Janesville City Council will vote on the contract Monday night.

Teamsters Local Number 695 represents the 30 transit employees who include full-time and part-time bus drivers and mechanics. It does not cover supervisors.

The contract expires in 2015.

While Act 10 removed much bargaining power from unions that represent many public workers, transit workers are exempt because of federal law. They are still able bargain all aspects of their contact. Firefighters and police officers also exempt from Act 10 by state law.

The contract calls for wage increases of 0 percent in 2013, 2 percent in 2014, 4 percent in January 2015 and 2.25 percent Dec. 31, 2015.

That is similar to firefighters and police officers, who negotiated wage increases totaling 8.25 percent over three years.

Transit workers would contribute nothing retroactively to their pensions in 2013, something other city workers did. Act 10 requires that employees pay half of the total contribution and the employer—in this case the city—to pick up the other half.

Transit workers would pay 6.65 percent of their salaries as contributions to their pensions in 2014.

Contributions for transit workers in 2015 would be capped at 7 percent, even if the employee share of the contribution exceeds 7 percent.

Over the three years, the contract will save the city about $58,750, mostly because workers agreed to contribute to their pensions.

The 2 percent wage increase Dec. 31, 2015, means an additional $37,050 must be budgeted in 2016.

In addition, the parties agreed employees would get an additional eight-hour floating holiday in 2014. The holiday was requested by the union, and the city agreed to reach a voluntary settlement, said Susan Musick, human resources director.

Workers would pay the same medical heath premiums as other city employees.

The co-pay for health plan premiums per month per family is $160 in 2014.

Under the tentative agreement:

-- Workers would get two weeks vacation after one year of employment and up to five weeks after 20 years.

-- Workers would get 11 holiday days, three of which are floating. Employees who work on holidays are paid double their hourly rate in addition to the holiday pay.

-- The city would pay the full health premium for employees who retire at age 55 and have worked for the city for 25 years or more.

-- In 2014, a starting driver would earn $20.43 an hour this year and $21.73 in 2015. After 25 years, a driver would earn $24.77 an hour this year and $26.34 in 2015.

Union members unanimously approved the agreement.

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