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Metro and transit union agree on contract that offers higher wages and increased benefits

metro bus
Becca Costello

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 627 are agreeing on a new, three-year contract. Metro announced the deal Monday. The contract is retroactive to Nov. 2020, and runs through Oct. 2023.

According to a release, the deal means higher wages and increased benefits for union staff such as bus drivers and maintenance workers. Union members approved the deal Jan. 6.

Metro notes the following contract particulars in its release:

  • 2.5% wage increases every six months, retroactive to January 2021
  • Increased starting wage of $21 per hour for new operators (after paid training)
  • Yearly increases in top earning wages for operators and mechanics, reaching $32.39 per hour and $34.33 per hour, respectively, by contract’s end
  • New “premium pay” structure for operators running high-ridership routes to ensure more reliable service for the most customers
  • Improved work-life balance for staff through more stable shift times, which will also aid in recruiting and retaining talent

Metro and the Cincinnati Public School district ended a busing contract deal for high school students last fall. Metro cited a bus operator shortage, in part, for the need to cut routes.

In Monday's release, union president Troy Miller says, "I am very pleased that we could agree on a new contract with SORTA that addresses the needs of our members and keeps Cincinnati on the move for our customers."

SORTA CEO Darryl Haley adds, "As we invest in improved and innovative services for our riders, this new contract allows us to properly reward and compensate our workforce for their hard work and the invaluable service they provide. It also helps us in our continued efforts to attract and retain talent in this fiercely competitive labor market. Ultimately, this all means better service for our community.”

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.