Sisters & brothers, we have a contract between ATU and TriMet!
We’ve been getting plenty of questions about what the newly-ratified contract between ATU 757 and TriMet will mean for you now that it’s been approved by the TriMet Board. Below are the answers to the questions we’re being frequently asked about the new contract – do you have a question that’s not on this list? Please email or call us at the Union Hall and we’ll be happy to add it!
Q: Okay, now that members and TriMet Board have voted to approve the Tentative Agreement, what are the next steps? When does this agreement become final?
A: After ATU’s members voted overwhelmingly in November to ratify the Agreement, it went to TriMet’s Board of Directors for their approval at their December 13th, 2017 meeting. ATU was out in full force to show solidarity and support for the Agreement.
Now that TriMet’s Board has voted to approve the Tentative Agreement, it is now the effective and enforceable contract governing members of the bargaining unit. We know it will take the company some time after that to collate, print, and distribute it out to members as the formal Working & Wage Agreement booklet, but the contract is now in place.
Q: When do our raises take effect?
A: You should begin seeing the new pay rate immediately, for hours worked from today onward. Retroactive pay will be a little different – please see below.
Q: What’s happening with retroactive pay increases, and when can I expect to see a retro check?
A: Members will receive a 3% retroactive pay raise for all hours, including overtime, that you worked between 12/1/2016 and 11/30/2017. You’ll receive a 3.25% pay raise for hours worked, including overtime, between 12/1/2017 and the date that TriMet issues retro checks.
We expect the company to issue retro checks on February 11th, 2018.
For active members, wages are the only thing that will be retroactive. You will not see retro, for example, when it comes to vacation days, contractual days, and the boot & uniform allowance, but those increases will go into effect moving forward.
Q: What sort of taxes will I have to pay on retro payments?
A: When you receive your retro check, it will be taxed as if it were a bonus, and the tax rate will be 42%. That said, you will get some of those taxes back when you file your tax returns in 2019, because the retro payments are wages and NOT a bonus.
Q: What about the $1,000 payment for journeyworkers?
A: Some journeyworkers, in the classifications below, will receive a $1,000 ratification payment under the terms of the agreement:
- 551 – Journeyworker LRV Mechanic
- 557/968 – Plant Maintenance Mechanic
- 931 – Journeyworker Mechanic
- 451 – Journeyworker Mechanic Streetcar
- 981 – Vehicle Maintainer (Non-Revenue)
- 888 – Commuter Rail Maintenance
We expect those payments to be issued before January 1st, 2018.
Q: What will the Agreement provide in terms of childcare and elder care benefits?
A: The Agreement doesn’t change anything regarding childcare and elder care benefits. Now that the Agreement has been approved, we expect TriMet to begin paying its contractually-required contribution to the child and elder care fund, which should replenish it to its maximum of $100,000.
Q: Will retirees receive information about what this agreement means for them, specifically?
A: Yes. Now that the contract is finalized, we will prepare information packets for retirees to highlight the parts of this contract that affect you, especially around retirement and health benefits.
Q: I’ve heard that there are big changes in health benefits for retirees over age 65 in the UnitedHealthCare plan. What’s changed?
A: Previously, retirees over age 65 who were enrolled in UnitedHealthCare plans were paying percentage-based co-pays for their doctor visit. That means that, instead of charging you a flat rate, you’d pay a percentage of the total cost of the service. Health care is so expensive that this meant high out-of-pocket costs for retirees. Under the Agreement, retirees in that UnitedHealthCare plan will begin paying flat co-pays without seeing an increase in your premiums. Below is a chart highlighting the differences between the plans – on the left is the old plan, on the right is what the new one will be (we know the text is a little small, and we’re sorry about that – please call us if you’re having a hard time reading it, and you need more information about retiree health care):
Q: When will the switch to the new UnitedHealthCare plan happen? Is that immediate, or do I have to wait for open enrollment?
A: If you are on the UnitedHealthCare plan, you will be switched to the new co-pay plan on January 1st, 2018.
Q: If I retired after December 1st, 2016 (when the old contract expired) but before this contract was approved, will I get retro pay for the hours I worked?
A: Yes. Our position is that all workers should receive retro pay for all hours worked from December 1st, 2016 onward.
Q: Operators are now eligible for vacation time based on their original date of hire, not the date they became full-time operators. When will we be able to use that additional vacation time?
A: The new provision for calculating vacation time goes into effect 60 days from when the contract was ratified (which happened on December 13th), so you should be able to use that extra week at April vacation sign-ups.