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First joint industry council formed

History was made as the first ATU joint industry council (JIC) was formed, and its first meeting held in January. The JIC consists of Locals across the U.S. and Canada that represent MV Transportation workers.

Industry-leading approach

The meeting comes after years of gathering local union experience with private transportation companies contracted to manage a growing number of public transit systems. Under International President Larry Hanley’s leadership, the Union has designed an industry-leading approach to bargaining and labor/management relations with multinational corporations like MV. 

Over the last few years, leaders of Locals like these have been instructed in strategies proven successful in dealing with corporate giants. They’ve been briefed on corporate backgrounds and corporate relations with local governments. The trainings have also covered effective contract language and bargaining tactics. 

One of the biggest problems identified by JIC Locals is the arrangements companies make in their municipal contracts. Locals have been frustrated by companies’ claims that their ability to negotiate is limited by their contract, or by the lack of contract language requiring a company to meet performance standards.  

The International, therefore, is urging Locals to get involved in formulating requests for proposals (RFPs) and revenue agreements before they go out to the public.

This was done by Local 128-Asheville, NC, which had ongoing problems with First Transit. Maintenance was poorly scheduled by the company, if at all. The fleet had fallen into such disrepair that SUVs were being used to provide service. Turnover was high.

Taking action

Through a joint campaign with community groups, the Local was successful in being named to the RFP committee, recommending language that was included in the RFP. The Local was also asked to sit on the selection committee, giving them a voice and a vote on which company would run the system.

A similar situation in Escambia County, Florida gave Local 1395-Pensacola, FL, an opportunity to have a voice in drawing up a client contract. 

In this way, ATU has taken the fight for wages, safety, and working conditions beyond the bargaining table, demanding and gaining a voice in the process that helps determine the outcome of the contract bids.

A step further

The newly-formed JIC MV Transportation Council – has taken its concerns a step further, meeting with MV corporate officers to open a dialogue on issues such as bidding, contracts, turnover, working conditions and other issues. Future councils for each private transportation company have met and elected officers and more will follow. The multinational transportation companies have also agreed to meet with their respective councils.

Clearly, the way the ATU deals with these companies has changed. We planned. We prepared. We are ready.