1. MCTS wants to hire 45 part-time transit operators with no benefits
Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) wants to add 45 new part-time drivers that could work unlimited hours without being eligible to receive any benefits. That means these new operators will receive:
2. MCTS already has over 70 bus operators scheduled for full-time hours that don’t receive full-time benefits
The 45 part-time operators MCTS wants would be in addition to an already existing tier of operators hired to work 30 hours per week that are scheduled full-time hours but don’t receive full-time benefits or pay into the pension. These operators are classified as “G30’s.”
3. Part-time employees wouldn’t contribute to the pension
Increasing the number of part-time transit workers would limit further contributions to the pension, threatening the ability of hard-working Milwaukee County transit workers to retire with dignity and adequate pension.
4. Wage increases would be offset by increased insurance premiums and deductibles
MCTS is proposing a half of a percent wage increase when the contract is ratified and one percent on April 1, 2016. After paying the additional health insurance premiums and deductibles, transit workers would be taking home less money.
5. Part-time transit operators would have a negative impact on Milwaukee communities
Milwaukee’s transit system is the economic backbone of the region and the state. Part-time transit operators will not have the same level of experience or skill level that full-time professional drivers have. It is common for part-time operators to work a second job or have long spread time which can lead to fatigue. This added pressure on part-time operators has been shown to result in increased accidents.
6. Over 100 employees have left MCTS since January
Since January 2015, over 100 employees have left MCTS resulting in scheduled work that is being held in at each station. It is unlikely that lower wage jobs without any benefits will attract or retain the workforce needed to move Milwaukee forward. Part-time transit workers simply cannot support full-time communities.
7. Part-time workers have higher turnover rates
Many transit agencies report high turnover and higher fatigue among part-time transit workers. A 2002 report from the Transit Cooperative Research Program found that attrition among part-time drivers was exceptionally high as a result of lower wages and lack of benefit eligibility.
8. MCTS has not addressed the issue of bathroom breaks for bus operators
In the September 25 proposal, MCTS said they would establish task forces for bathroom breaks, but there is no language in the proposal about how this task force will ensure bus operators have access to restroom locations along every bus route and shift. MCTS has failed to document restroom locations operators are allowed to use or any restroom use time built into scheduling on all shifts.
9. MCTS wants to cap the Cost of Living Adjustment (C.O.L.A.)
MCTS has proposed capping the cost-of-living adjustment on the last day of the contract at 2%. With interest rates heading up, prices will be going up too. Transit workers are public servants who deserve a wage that keeps pace with the cost of living.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 members have fought for many years to win the full-time professional drivers that Milwaukee deserves. This proposal doesn’t make sense for our members or for Milwaukee riders.