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PSTA & Union Sign New Agreement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   
October 24, 2018           

Media Contact: Whitney Fox
727-540-1892
wfox@psta.net

PSTA & Union Sign New Agreement
Benefit provisions meant to encourage and empower employees

St. Petersburg, Fla. — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a three-year contract with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that covers nearly 500 workers responsible for the repair, maintenance, and operation of Pinellas County’s transit system on Wednesday.

PSTA bus operators, maintenance personnel, and customer service representatives united to SEIU voted overwhelmingly – 95 percent—in favor of a contract that provides increased starting pay-rates for new hires and first year employees and an annual lump sum compensation based on attendance. The agreement also expands the tuition reimbursement available to employees allowing them to receive a free education to advance their career while working at PSTA.

“This agreement successfully aligns with our shared goals of employee sustainability, competitive but fiscally responsible wage increases and performance driven progression,” said PSTA Board Chair Janet Long.

PSTA began collective bargaining sessions with SEIU in June and reached a tentative settlement agreement for a new three-year term on October 19 after negotiating in 12 different bargaining sessions.

“The agreement isn’t just flowery language,” said Rick Smith, SEIU Chief of Staff. “PSTA is taking a big step to invest in its employees and increase living standards for everyone.”

The new agreement has set PSTA ahead of many transit agencies in the area.

PSTA bus operators will have the highest wages compared to other public transit operators in Center and North Florida, making PSTA a competitive first-choice employer in Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area.

“This gives PSTA sustainability by investing in our employees, rewarding performance and keeping us competitive in this economy.” said PSTA Chief Executive Officer Brad Miller.

The new agreement will be in effect through September 30, 2021.

 

Highlights of the contract include:

  • Increased starting pay‐rates for new hires and first year employees.
    • FY 2019 – 3.25%  
    • FY 2020 – 3%  
    • FY 2021 – 3%  
  • Increase in longevity pay in annual lump sum payouts
  • ASE Certification pay
  • Uniform & tool allowance increases
  • Tightening of the general rules impacting employee performance.
  • Much improved employee benefits to include pay provisions, vacation leave, and paid time–off opportunities
  • Minimum starting wage raised to $13 for all bargaining positions
  • Starting wage for bus operators raised from $12+ to $15+
  • Starting wage for mechanics raised from $14+ to $17+
  • Increase in tuition reimbursement from $500/year in education toward your specific position previously to over $5,000/year toward the transportation field
  • The three year labor agreement with SEIU is within PSTA’s FY 2019 approved $33.5 million dollar salary budget and the percentage increases are within the Board approved budget assumptions for the contract period