Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 leaders have asked the union’s members to vote “no” on a new contract proposed by the Milwaukee County Transit System.
MCTS and ATU, which have been in negotiations that have resulted in a work stoppage and several stalemates, restarted negotiations on Friday with the assistance of a federal mediator. MCT presented the new contract on Friday, and ATU members will vote on it Wednesday.
James Macon, president of ATU Local 998, released a statement about the new proposal:
“Today MCTS offered us a two-year proposal with language on part-timers that was significantly worse than their previous proposal. MCTS insists on increasing the number of lower wage, part-time transit workers, but does not want to limit the number of hours they work. We see this as an attempt to exploit Milwaukee workers by allowing them to work full-time hours without any benefits.
“Increasing the number of part-time transit workers would limit contributions to the pension, threatening the ability of hard-working Milwaukee County transit workers to retire with dignity, adequate pension, and health care coverage.
“We are concerned that as benefits and compensation to workers decrease, the number of runs that will go unfilled will increase.
“We offered MCTS a four-year plan to have stability. We were willing to sign off on the agreed upon items and take everything else to arbitration. MCTS refused.
“On Wednesday, Sept. 30, we will be taking the two-year proposal to the members to vote on. The bargaining committee does not support the company’s proposal. We will be urging members to vote ‘no.’
“We are disgusted by the current proposal and remain committed to fighting for a fair contract that puts riders first, retains full-time professional drivers, and moves Milwaukee forward.”
The union represents more than 1,100 bus drivers, mechanics, station attendants and other transportation support personnel in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Kenosha and Sheboygan.