Authority Into Gear
Bus drivers and mechanics employed by the Greenfield-Montague
Transportation Area, (GMTA), members of amalgamated UE Local 274, have been
working since July 1, 1999 without a contract.
They recently realized their goal of significant wage
increases in a new contract, following a public campaign aimed at their
Considered public employees, GMTA workers cannot legally
strike. But that doesn’t mean they can’t fight. After rejecting management’s
final offer in December 1999, union members immediately began informational
These Local 274 members picketed twice a week for two months,
on many mornings when temperatures dipped below zero and snow fell. Through
its dogged efforts, the union gained valuable publicity and community support.
Many passengers and citizens sent letters to local newspapers supporting the
drivers and mechanics. Petitions circulated by drivers and signed by members
of the community and bus passengers went to the GMTA Board of Trustees.
After almost a year of fighting, union members approved a
contract that yields a 5.83 percent wage increase for bus drivers and a 7.5
percent wage increase for mechanics, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2000. Earning $12
an hour prior to contract negotiations, drivers will be earning $13.34 an hour
by July 1, 2001. Wage rates for mechanics will range from $15.78 to $17.69.
Other improvements include an increase in the employer
contribution to the pension plan. Part-time employees will be able to
participate in the pension plan, and receive an employer contribution. The new
contract also establishes a health and safety committee and increases sick and
The union negotiating committee consisted of Gael
Wakefield, Dave Nowicki, Tim Sall and Keith Kaczenski. They were
assisted by UE Field Org. Paul Ryan.
UE News - 07/00