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DDOT Bus Drivers Ratify Contract with Detroit – First Agreement Since 2010

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Fred Westbrook, President of ATU Local 26 representing more than 400 bus drivers and Mayor Mike Duggan announced a new collective bargaining agreement, settling a conflict that has gone on nearly five years. 

ATU members ratified the agreement by a wide margin on Friday.  The contract now goes to City Council and the Financial Review Commission for approval.

“Our bus drivers have done a great job under difficult circumstances,” said Duggan.  “This contract won’t bring them to the pay level of SMART or the other regional transit systems, but it does move us in the right direction.” 

ATU Local 26 members suffered an 8% pay cut in 2010, two percent of which was restored in 2014.  Under the new agreement, the union receives a 6% base wage increase and a one-time 4% bonus.  The starting and maximum wages are as follows: 

Current DDOT Wages:                                    $11.38-$16.25

DDOT Wages under new agreement:             $12.06-$17.23

SMART Drivers Wages                                   $12.49-$21.32 

Fare Box Sharing – Drivers Have Potential to Share in Growth

An historic provision is one that allows drivers to share in extra revenue if DDOT succeeds in attracting more riders.  In the “Fare Box Sharing” provision, drivers will share in 30% of the growth in fare box revenues over 2014-15 levels up to the following amount per driver: 

  •          FY 15-16  $350 Per Driver
  •          FY 16-17  $500 Per Driver
  •          FY 17-18  $625 Per Driver
  •          FY 18-19  $750 Per Driver 

“With the 80 new buses, new drivers, and new security measures, we think DDOT’s future is bright,” said ATU President Westbrook.  “With fare box sharing, if DDOT succeeds, our drivers will share financially in that success.”

“Being a DDOT bus driver is becoming a lot more appealing with all of the improvements we are making, and this increase in compensation certainly will help us recruit and retain drivers,” DDOT Director Dan Dirks said. “We have 80 new buses, our fleet is being outfitted with security cameras, and we have been meeting our daily pullout on a consistent basis. All of these things matter to our drivers.”

The contract runs through June 30, 2019.  The base wage increase is 13.5% over four years: 

  •          Fall, 2015              6.0%
  •          7/1/16                   2.5%
  •          7/1/17                   2.5%
  •          7/1/18                   2.5% 

ATU members will also receive a one-time 4% bonus upon City Council and FRC approval.  The contract will be immediately submitted to City Council for approval.  Duggan said he hoped to have all approvals completed by the FRC October 26 meeting.

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