The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has struck a deal that would make its 500 employees the highest-paid transit operators in Central or North Florida.
“This is a capstone moment that reflects our organization’s alignment and focus on excellence,” PSTA Board Chairwoman Darden Rice said Thursday. “This shows what you can accomplish when everyone is aligned and working together.”
The deal with Service Employees International Union will run for three years and increase base pay for new hires by 2.5 percent this year and 3 percent in 2017 and 2018. The agreement will also allow workers to collect $500 bonuses for good attendance and provide opportunities for paid time off.
“The results were pretty great: wage increases that were meaningful, not only at the top, but at the bottom, to increase living standards for everyone,” SEIU Chief of Staff Rick Smith said. “It’s a huge accomplishment for the agency and the workers here.”
Alongside the attendance bonuses, PTSA and SEIU also agreed to toughen up rules for employees missing work and conforming to safety policies.
The deal also starts committees to educate workers on issues including health and wellness, medication management, scheduling and routing matters, accident and collision management, and implementing new customer service initiatives.
PTSA and SEIU went through 11 rounds of negotiation before settling on the agreement, and the transit authority said its budget will be within a half percent of its previous projections after the new pay scale goes into effect.
“When we can show our employees that we value them and appreciate their work, it trickles down throughout the entire agency, and ultimately, it improves our system,” PSTA CEO Brad Miller said.