VTA and ATU Local 265 have been negotiating for a successor labor agreement since August 2018. Through good faith negotiations over this time, substantial progress has been made on many issues. By working together, VTA and ATU have reached 26 tentative agreements while another 11 agreements are pending, contingent on ratification of a final agreement.
However, major issues regarding wages, pensions, and certain operational efficiencies remain unresolved despite multiple negotiation sessions and recent sessions with a mediator. Although VTA has continued to refine its offer, VTA and ATU have not been able to reach an agreement on these key issues. As a result, a bargaining impasse has now occurred.
In light of this impasse, VTA has provided ATU with its "last, best and final offer" in hopes that a successor labor agreement can be reached. This final proposal is a three-year contract totaling an 8% wage increase – the first year would be a wage increase of 3%, followed by a 2.5% increase in the second and third years. In addition, VTA’s final proposal includes a 3.1% lump-sum payment spread over three years (1.1%, 1% and 1%). These lump-sum payments are intended to ease the pension contributions that VTA is asking ATU employees to make under a new agreement that has a total cost of $30.9 million.
Link to VTA's Last, Best and Final Offer including all documentation of tentative, pending and outstanding agreements.
ATU initially sought a three-year, 45% total wage increase. After extensive negotiations, the union’s latest proposal is a three-year, 13.5% wage increase but with no additional employee pension contribution. ATU is the only bargaining unit at VTA in which the vast majority of members do not fully contribute to their pension benefits. Less than 20% of ATU members, those hired after January 1, 2016 (275 of the 1516 ATU members), now contribute to their full employee share towards their pensions.
VTA’s final proposal would bring the remaining ATU members to the same employee pension contribution commitment that all other VTA employees and union members make. Regrettably, in ATU’s last counterproposal, union leadership did not accept this responsibility as other VTA bargaining units already have, and instead pursued an authorization to strike.
VTA took steps beginning in 2013 to ensure that all employees contribute to their share of pensions because it is necessary for long-term financial stability and for our ongoing ability to provide reliable transportation services to the public. This aligns with nearly every other public employer in California.
VTA’s goals throughout this bargaining process have consistently been to:
- provide equitable and competitive compensation to ATU employees;
- ensure long-term financial sustainability for VTA; and
- protect the interests of all the people in our region who depend on VTA and our operators to get them to work, school, home, and to their appointments.
A fair and financially responsible successor labor agreement with ATU will be essential for VTA to achieve these goals, and we remain hopeful these goals are shared by ATU members and their leadership.
We will continue to provide updates on the negotiations process and information related to any potential service-related issues via our blog and the VTA Labor Relations webpage.