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Latest News - June 2014

June 27, 2014
City, transit union ironing out new contract
Source: The New Star.com
By: Cole Avery

Monroe officials and the local transit workers union are negotiating a new contract and addressing issues the union members have with their workplace.

Mayor Jamie Mayo said he has had several meetings over the last several weeks with union members to hear some of their concerns. Mayo said those issues include disputes with management, bus maintenance and their uniforms.

“We’ve got an open dialogue and are trying to address their concerns,” Mayo said. “None of these, in my opinion, are issues that aren’t workable or able to be resolved.”

In all these discussions with the mayor, however, the ongoing controversy surrounding the transit system’s management company, First Transit, has never been brought up.

The city is continuing to pay First Transit despite the City Council voting last year not to renew the contract. Though some council members are urging the city to consider other firms, Mayo decided to pay First Transit without a contract.

Neither the mayor nor the council has budged on their positions regarding the First Transit Contract.

The decision limits the city on where it can spend its federalgrant money. The city is now spending about $200,000 per year of its money on the firm, though the city was already heavily subsidizing the system.

The city also collects enough money in fares to more than pay for First Transit.

Union members told The News-Star earlier this year they wanted a chance to run the system themselves. However, Mayo said the issue hasn’t been discussed in any of their meetings.

Mayo said the union representatives were more concerned with whether they can wear a colored uniform on the weekends instead of their standard white shirt. They’ve had three meetings with the mayor over the issue.

“It wouldn’t matter if it’s First Transit or the city, these are typical issues that come up,” Mayo said. “In my opinion, we’ve never had communication issues between management and representatives. They don’t always agree with management decisions, just like we don’t always agree with them.”

 

 


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