The San Mateo County Transit District announced Friday the agency has reached a three-year agreement with its bus operators and maintenance employees.
The agreement, which went into effect Sept. 6, calls for a wage freeze in the first two years, agency spokeswoman Christine Dunn said. The third year of the contract calls for a 2.5 percent wage increase, as long as there are no significant changes that affect passenger fare and sales tax revenues.
Employees will also begin contributing to the monthly premium costs for health coverage – 3 percent in the first year, an additional 3 percent in the second year and an additional 4 percent in the third year, a total of 10 percent phased in over three years, under the new agreement.
The agreement also calls for employees to begin paying a portion of the employee contribution to the PERS retirement system. Under the new agreement, employees will pay 2 percent in the first year, an additional 2 percent in the second year and an additional 1 percent in the third year, a total of 5 percent phased in over three years.
The changes in healthcare and pension contributions also will apply to non-represented employees, Dunn said.
The new agreement also establishes a second-tier retirement program. Employees currently receive a pension calculated at 2 percent at 55. Once the new retirement program is established, new employees will receive a pension calculated at 2 percent at 60.
These changes help the transit district to stay within its adopted budget for the current Fiscal Year 2012.
“This new agreement is fiscally constrained and reflects the tough times we are in,” SamTrans General Manager Michael J. Scanlon said in a statement
“We can get through these hard times by working together, all of us pulling on the rope in the same direction. What makes that possible is fairness – sharing the good times, sharing the hard times together,” he said.
The San Mateo County Transit District employs 667 employees who serve three agencies consolidated into one organization:SamTrans, the bus and paratransit provider for San Mateo County; Caltrain, the Peninsula commuter rail service; and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, which implements the proceeds from a half-cent sales tax dedicated to transportation projects in San Mateo County.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1574, the employees with whom the new agreement was reached, represents the 383 operators and maintenance employees.
In the prior two years, this unit received previously negotiated wage increases, and non-represented employees received their last salary increase in 2008.