UTA gives rank-and-file workers a 3.25% pay hike

(Courtesy Utah Transit Authority) UTA job fair on April 24, 2019, outside its Salt Lake City headquarters. UTA just approved a new union agreement that will give rank-and-file workers a 3.25% pay hike this year.

After lacking a contract since December, the Utah Transit Authority Board on Wednesday approved a new three-year agreement with the union that represents its 1,600 bus and train operators and maintenance workers — which will bring them a 3.25% pay hike this year.

A 3% increase will come in 2021, followed by a 2% bump in July 2022. The contract also provides a one-time ratification payment of $300 to full-time employees, and $150 to part-time workers.

That means standard pay for bus and train operators is now $23.85 an hour and will rise to $25.44 by mid-2022.

Pay for journeyman mechanics is now $30.68; for rail maintenance workers it is $25.94; and for coach cleaners it is $20.31.

“We’re excited about what looks like a productive outcome,” UTA Board Chairman Carlton Christensen said about the new agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 382. Its membership ratified the agreement earlier this month.

Other key parts of the agreement include:

• A new parental leave program provides four weeks paid leave for new parents, to mirror what nonunion administrative employees already received.

• Overtime pay for holiday work and a $1 per hour pay differential for overnight shifts, up from 65 cents now.

• Increased employer contributions to the joint insurance trust fund by 5.5% this year, 6% in 2021 and by 6.5% in 2022.

• A $25 increase in uniform allowance and tool allowance for maintenance workers.

• Seasonal options for worker uniforms, such as shorts and lighter clothing. “That was titanicly popular,” said UTA negotiations team leader Richard Murray.

• Prohibits strikes by the union and lockouts by UTA.

• Continued annual transit passes to UTA employees, spouses and children under age 23.

• Up to $1,000 in tuition assistance a year.

• Five days of paid vacation during an employee’s first year of service; 10 days after one year; 12 days after five years; 15 days after seven years; and 20 days after 14 years.