Today, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced the ratification of the four-year labor agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1560. During today’s RTA Board of Commissioners Meeting, the commissioners unanimously voted to ratify the resolution that granted the RTA’s Chief Executive Officer, Alex Z. Wiggins, the authority to sign the new labor agreement which includes a pay and benefits package that keeps RTA operators among the highest paid in the southwest and southeast regions.
The agreement between ATU and RTA covers 518 represented employees, including bus, streetcar, and paratransit operators, dispatchers, reservationists, clerks, transit tellers, transit information operators, router editors, and training instructors. The four-year agreement is effective through June 30, 2025.
“We are one step closer to fulfilling our commitment to investing in RTA employees with the ratification of this labor agreement between the RTA and its largest union” said Flozell Daniels, Jr., RTA board chair. “The RTA’s lifeblood is its transit operators and mechanics, and the RTA Board of Commissioners is looking forward to our continued partnership to give New Orleanians the world-class riding experience they deserve.”
The RTA and ATU began negotiations in Spring 2021, reaching a tentative agreement on May 5, 2022. The agreement was ratified by ATU membership on June 23, 2022, with the RTA board adopting the resolution on June 28, 2022, which gave the CEO the authority to ratify the contract. Per the agreement, ATU represented employees will now receive:
- With the top 2022 salary at $29.41 per hour plus ample opportunities for overtime, RTA transit operators are among the highest paid in the nation.
- Increased yearly safe driving bonus from $250 to $400 for operators who maintain safe driving record for the calendar year.
- Reduced out of pocket health care expenses by capping employee insurance premiums at 20%.
- A three percent increase in employer match in retirement benefits resulting in an increase from three percent to six percent.
- Juneteenth and Memorial Day were added as paid holidays, totaling 13 days per year. This includes one personal holiday.
- Additional $1,100 in COVID-19 pay, capping at $3,100.
“The RTA workforce has demonstrated time and time again their commitment to maintaining mobility through the most challenging circumstances including the pandemic and our recent overactive hurricane seasons,” said Alex Z. Wiggins, RTA CEO. “I am proud of the agreement made between the RTA and the ATU as it honors this commitment of our essential employees by investing in competitive wages and benefits that make the RTA one of the most desirable employers in the region.”
“This new labor agreement will place New Orleans RTA operators among the highest paid in our region,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “As a result of this successful labor agreement, the over 500 women and men of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority can look ahead to a future of competitive wages, reduced out of pocket health care expenses, and enhanced bonuses and incentive programs.”
“As the new ATU Local 1560 Local President, my first priority was reaching an agreement with RTA for our members on the front lines,” said Kory Dupree, ATU Local 1560. “We have faced many challenges in maintaining mobility but have persevered for our riders and our community. ATU Local 1560 looks forward to continuing the work of the agency, overcoming obstacles to building stronger connections and moving forward in a new direction with RTA.”
“As the chairman of the New Orleans City Council Transportation Committee, I am very aware of the importance of the Regional Transit Authority system transporting our citizens to and from their homes, work, and recreation. The RTA’s completion of negotiations with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1560 ensures stability and continuity in service so vital to citizens and the general public. The finalization of the labor contract frees RTA to focus on its long-term plans for growth and expansion of services. It is a good day for RTA, its labor force, and those who use public transit.” Councilmember Eugene Green.