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Teamsters ratify new OTS contract with 6.4 percent raise

By Marcel Honoré

LAST UPDATED: 07:42 p.m. HST, Jul 09, 2013

Honolulu’s bus drivers ratified a new five-year labor contract Tuesday with Oahu Transit Services, Inc. — the company that runs TheBus.

The agreement, which calls for a wage freeze for the first 16 months but a 6.4 percent raise during the five-year period, was tentatively reached on Jun 30, which was the day the last five-year contract expired. 

It followed several weeks of talks, according to OTS officials, and it covers some 1,400 bus drivers, clerical and maintenance members of Teamsters Local 996.

“It speaks well of the parties, OTS and the Teamsters, that they were able to reach an agreement amicably, supported by the membership, and avoid any shutdown of TheBus,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a statement.

Local 996 members approved the deal by an “overwhelming” vote conducted throughout the day, said Millie Downey, the union’s secretary-treasurer. She did not specify the final count.

“We didn’t get as much as we wanted” due to continued slow economic growth, Downey said. However, the Teamsters maintained their same medical benefits, and that was their top priority, she added.

All union employees will remain covered under the Teamsters Health and Welfare plan through a 100 percent employer contribution of $895 a month, according to an OTS statement.

This marks the third five-year contract that the Teamsters and OTS have inked since 2003 — the last time the drivers went on strike.  Before then, the last time Honolulu's bus drivers went on strike was 1971.

"Given the recent strikes in San Francisco and the importance of TheBus to Oahu's residents, mahalo to the Teamsters and OTS for coming to an agreement," Michael Formby, the city's Director of Transportation Services, said in a statement.

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Pocho wrote:
how they going get money for the pay raise? Raise TheBus fare or do the taxpayers pay the hike?
on July 9,2013 | 07:31PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Sweet .... 60K a year, free family medical and a 6% raise over the next 5 years. It's good to be a bus driver, it's got to be one of the highest paying jobs that don't require a college degree.
on July 9,2013 | 08:43PM
sailfish1 wrote:
almost like police officers
on July 9,2013 | 11:33PM
hawaiiismyhome wrote:
WHAT A JOKE!!!! Bus drivers making more than teachers. I spend five years of my life in college getting a teaching degree. Take my advice people, stop wasting your money and time attending college. Tomorrow, I heading straight over to TheBus and submitting my application.
on July 9,2013 | 09:15PM
IAmSane wrote:
LOL what a drama queen.
on July 9,2013 | 10:05PM
tiki886 wrote:
Google, "FDR Warned us", 2/19/2011 heritage foundation / the foundry

Yes, it is a conservative think tank but it references what FDR and fmr AFL-CIO labor leader George Meany said about government and collective bargaining. It's a short 1 page article. “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

They make the distinction that private sector labor unions bargain for a greater share of the profits. There is no profit in the public sector, only taxpayers.


“It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

That wasn’t Newt Gingrich, or Ron Paul, or Ronald Reagan talking. That was George Meany — the former President of the AFL-CIO — in 1955. Government unions are unremarkable today, but the labor movement once thought the idea absurd.

The founders of the labor movement viewed unions as a vehicle to get workers more of the profits they help create. Government workers, however, don’t generate profits. They merely negotiate for more tax money. When government unions strike, they strike against taxpayers. FDR considered this “unthinkable and intolerable.”

Government collective bargaining means voters do not have the final say on public policy. Instead their elected representatives must negotiate spending and policy decisions with unions. That is not exactly democratic – a fact that unions once recognized.

George Meany was not alone. Up through the 1950s, unions widely agreed that collective bargaining had no place in government. But starting with Wisconsin in 1959, states began to allow collective bargaining in government. The influx of dues and members quickly changed the union movement’s tune, and collective bargaining in government is now widespread. As a result unions can now insist on laws that serve their interests – at the expense of the common good.

Union contracts make it next to impossible to reward excellent teachers or fire failing ones. Union contracts give government employees gold-plated benefits – at the cost of higher taxes and less spending on other priorities. The alternative to Walkers’ budget was kicking 200,000 children off Medicaid.

Gov. Walker’s plan reasserts voter control over government policy. Voters’ elected representatives should decide how the government spends their taxes. More states should heed the AFL-CIO Executive Council’s 1959 advice:

'in terms of accepted collective bargaining procedures, government workers have no right beyond the authority to petition Congress—a right available to every citizen.

on July 9,2013 | 10:11PM
kekahahi wrote:
TheBus Rules!
on July 9,2013 | 10:45PM
Uncleart66 wrote:
Best Mayor money can buy.
on July 9,2013 | 10:54PM
Kuniarr wrote:
The wording in the news is that the 6.4%during and not over the five year period. During can mean a 6.4% raise each year for the next five years Over can mean a 1.28% increase each year for a total of 6.4% in 5 years.
on July 10,2013 | 12:50AM
Shotzy wrote:
And exactly how much does the union collect each month from those 1400 employees ? How much of that taxpayer money is wasted on Union Bosses ridiculous salary's and benifits? Were gonna end up like Detroit, just keep on voting Democrat.
on July 10,2013 | 06:28AM
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