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Union Gets
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.

Until now.

They recently realized their goal of significant wage increases in a new contract, following a public campaign aimed at their public-sector employer.

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 picketing.

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 accident benefits.

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

Home -> UE News -> 2000 Archives -> Article

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