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RTD approves new agreement with union that will increase operator pay

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Posted at 2:43 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 16:43:10-04

DENVER – The Regional Transportation District and its union announced Friday the authorization of a new three-year contract that include raises of at least 25% for union operators over the span of the contract.

RTD’s board of directors authorized the agreement between and the union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001 (ATU 1001), which represents about two-thirds of RTD employees, which will push starting hourly pay for bus and rail operators from $20.58 to $24 an hour.

Other terms of the new contract include making operators eligible for their first raise after six months instead of a year, with the potential for pay increases every six months to reach the top pay rate after 4 ½ years.

Under the contract, entry-level wages for various positions are as follows: $30.25 for general repair mechanics in bus operations; $35.65 for signal/traction power maintainers in light rail maintenance; $34.48 for journeyman electricians in facilities maintenance; $33.77 for electro mechanics in light rail maintenance; and $29.68 for track maintainers in commuter rail maintenance.

RTD will also make a $160 million pension contribution for employees hired between Jan 2011 and the end of this year, and for those hired after Jan. 1 of next, year RTD will match the first 5% of employee contributions and contribute 9% of wages to the pension.

RTD management and the union will also discuss the potential for four 10-hour workdays for employees and add more ability for employees to take paid time off under the new agreement.

The contract is retroactive to Jan. 1 and will run through Dec. 31, 2024. RTD said current employees will receive their raises by May.

The tentative agreement between RTD and the union was reached on Feb. 28 after five months of negotiations, and ATU 1001 members ratified the contract on Thursday.

“ATU 1001 is pleased with the outcome of our contract negotiations with RTD,” said ATU Local 1001 President Lance Longenbohn. “The bargaining was conducted in good faith, and many significant improvements were made in wages and working conditions.

“RTD’s success is intertwined with that of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001,” said RTD General Manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson. “The agency could not deliver high-quality transit services throughout the Denver metro area without the dedicated union employees that constitute the majority of the workforce.”

RTD and union officials both said Friday that RTD is looking to hire for most positions. RTD is offering a $4,000 signing bonus for several positions, including operators, some technicians and mechanics.