Twin Cities Bus Drivers Vote On Another Contract Offer

By Steve Murphy, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A contract covering 2,200 members of the Amalgamated Transit Union expired last July and the rank-and-file have twice rejected offers that included wage freezes and higher payments for health insurance.

Since then a new administration and Met Council chairwoman have taken over — a change noted by Local 1005 President Michelle Sommers.

“I think there’s a new feeling of wanting to respect the employees, which I think is very important,” said Sommers. “Having Governor Dayton or a new Met Council doesn’t change the financial situation of the state. But I think it can change the attitude towards the employees.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Steve Murphy Reports

Sommers says there are “some changes” in the health care offer this time around.

Union members will hear details of the latest offer at a meeting in St Paul on Sunday and voting will take place both Sunday and Monday.

Bus drivers haven’t been on strike since 2004, when they walked out for six weeks.

Comments

One Comment

  1. lisa227 says:

    First of all that was one bus drive not all. You shouldn’t put a whole group of people in one basket because of one. And another thing no I don’t think paying almost half of your wages on health care is right.

  2. Paul says:

    Wow, you’ve ridden the bus one time in your life, had a bad experience, and then chose to generalize that bad personal experience to the whole transit union? How suburban small-minded. Grow up. Nobody should be paying for their health care anyway.

  3. Greatful Passenger says:

    Wow, selfish union thugs, you got all that from one bus ride and during the fair no less. Great way to judge the metro transit system. If the front of the bus was covered with vulger slogans, who do you think put them there? That would be the crazy thugs that ride the bus and that the drivers have to put up with them on a daily basis. I have ridden the bus for over 15 years and am very grateful for the Metro Transit system. I know for a fact that they pay a fortune for their health insurance (just like everyone else) so unless you know the facts.
    Oh, and next time you ride the bus you might want to take a seat a little faster, they really don’t have time to sit and wait for each passenger to take their merry old time finding a seat .

  4. Riley says:

    I rode the bus to and from work for a number of years. The regular driver that I had would even stall for a minute if he saw me running down the street to catch up with him. Based on all the vulgar and trash that the drivers see everyday plus the threat of being held up by some gangy idiot they don’t get paid enough. Next time you need to go somewhere check out how much it would cost you to take a cab for the same ride. Then again you are probably one of those that would ‘never’ be caught in a cab let alone a bus. GET REAL!

  5. Grover says:

    @ Paul. Many people are contributing more to their health care these days. Can’t say that I support the bus drivers in these economic times, but can’t blame them for trying either.
    @ Pat Did you call a supervisor? Vulgar to you though could just be something like a pro union sticker.

  6. Grover says:

    @ Pat. Forgot to say. Standing on the mtc is permitted. Rode the intercampus bus at the U of M. Standing on the school bus is not. No crime the driver started.

  7. tuna-free dolphin says:

    Great pay for unskilled labor. Anyone with a GED could learn that job in a week. They should be paid accordingly. Especially since mass transit loses money even during the good years. Don’t make me pay big bucks to subsidize rides for malcontent granola crunchers, gang-bangers and serial welfare queens. It’s immoral. Peace out.

    1. Derrick says:

      Think there is an additional license to obtain. Criminal background check. Only part time to start. Split shifts to get to full time. Rude people. To start at $15 an hour. Your negativity is no peace.

      1. A bus driver says:

        There definitely is a license to obtain. A bus driver has to obtain a Class B drivers license as well as a bus endorsement and a passenger endorsement. Usually costs around about 3 thousand dollars to go through a class to get one of these unless you happen to get into a company that is willing to train you. Also, health insurance for bus drivers is usually a bare bones plan. I myself work for First Student which is a part of First Transit which also owns Greyhound. I pay 210 dollars a month just to cover myself on a plan that covers 5,000 dollars a year maximum. Cadillac plan my butt. In my opinion, drivers don’t get pain enough for the amount of stress they are put through and the lousy hours and terrible benefits they get. Maybe before making a negative comment about bus drivers, someone should do a little research when opening their mouth about something they have absolutely no experience in.

  8. silly says:

    Last time the transit went on strike shoplifting went down 60% at the malls. We need to just do away with the bus completely, most users are just thugs and bums. notice the notes about how hazardous it is for the drivers.
    Plus, I have always had to pay every dime of health insurance and keep a high deductable not the cadillac plan bus drivers have. For unskilled labor being a bus driver is a cush deal. And I haven’t seen vulgar stickers on the inside front but I have seen political stickers and I believe that bus is owned by the community not the driver and he/she should not be able to put political slogans anywhere on the bus.

    1. lisa227 says:

      You are just silly you have no idea how hard yes hard drivers and other people have it at metro transit. besides putting up with peaple that really shouldn’t even be aloud outside we have to stugglewith paying high health care. 600.00 a month is just not right!

      1. lib says:

        Lisa, people in the private sector pay twice that amount for a family of four.

    2. Dirk says:

      Silly is appropriate. Covetous, fabricator, could also be thy name. “most users are just thugs and bums” More mean spirited. Cadillac health plan? Many different plans out there. Could be a low cost one with high co pays. Do you know what kind of health plan they have? Someone else has something and you whine because you don’t. The driver got off their but and had to work quite a while to get the full time job sitting on their butt driving a bus

  9. lisa227 says:

    its hardly a “cadilac” health plan its just paying for something you might need. You would think for that kind of money i shouldn’t have a copay or pay for perscriptions.

  10. silly says:

    Judging by the spelling, unskilled should read uneducated making the big bucks and whining about having to pay for something extremely valuable, health care.

  11. alleyqueen says:

    Unfortunately, some of you don’t know much about Metro Transit, yet you’re okay with grouping all bus drivers together. Many drivers are college educated, or retired white collar workers. I rode the bus for many years through many parts of the city & suburbs, I would not want their job, regardless of the pay. Many work spilt shifts and if you’re considered part time (34 to 36 hours) you do not get any of your health insurance covered. Buying insurance from the company, would bring their hourly pay down to under $10.00 an hour. I know many bus drivers that do not want to strike, they just want their jobs and a chance to get a pay raise (like the rest of us) now and then.

    1. Grover says:

      Great information, thank you

  12. Regular Rider says:

    I am an average guy who is making more money than I ever have in the past, but I can no longer afford to drive a car, so I rely on the bus to get me everywhere I have to go. A few years ago, I lost my job and when I finally found one, it was in St Paul. I live in Minneapolis and now I have to ride the bus to work every day. I work for a large company that is making a very good profit every year, but two years ago I did not get a raise, last year I got a miniscule one and this year got a slightly larger miniscule one. None of them was enough to cover the added cost for my health plan, which has a high enough deductible that I am considering declaring bankruptcy after spending just one night in the hospital late last year. All this is to say that, while I support the idea of them trying to continue to get raises and all, I also can’t go along with the idea that they would even consider going out on strike, since there would be a good chance that I would lose my job and maybe even my place to live because of it. There are plenty of others in much the same position as I am. By the way, I have had some wonderful bus drivers and I am always happy to see ones I have enjoyed riding with when I am on a different route.

  13. Bus Driver says:

    There definitely is a license to obtain. A bus driver has to obtain a Class B drivers license as well as a bus endorsement and a passenger endorsement. Usually costs around about 3 thousand dollars to go through a class to get one of these unless you happen to get into a company that is willing to train you. Also, health insurance for bus drivers is usually a bare bones plan. I myself work for First Student which is a part of First Transit which also owns Greyhound. I pay 210 dollars a month just to cover myself on a plan that covers 5,000 dollars a year maximum. Cadillac plan my butt. In my opinion, drivers don’t get paid enough for the amount of stress they are put through and the lousy hours and terrible benefits they get. Maybe before making a negative comment about bus drivers, someone should do a little research when opening their mouth about something they have absolutely no experience in.

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