PSTA Board Approves Union Agreement
Ignites New Era at PSTA
St. Petersburg, Fla. – The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a three-year contract with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that covers nearly 500 workers responsible for the repair, maintenance, and operation of Pinellas County’s transit system on Wednesday.
PSTA bus operators, maintenance personnel, and customer service representatives united to SEIU voted overwhelmingly – 83 percent—in favor of a contract that provides increased starting pay-rates for new hires and first year employees and an annual lump sum compensation based on attendance. The agreement also calls for the formation of committees designed to improve health and wellness awareness.
“This is a capstone moment that reflects our organizations alignment and focus on excellence,” said PSTA Board Chair Darden Rice. “This shows what you can accomplish when everyone is aligned and working together.”
PSTA began collective bargaining sessions with SEIU on November 3 and reached a tentative settlement agreement for a new three-year term on February 29 after negotiating in 11 different bargaining sessions.
“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,” said Rick Smith, SEIU Chief of Staff. “It’s a huge accomplishment for the agency and the workers here.”
The new agreement has set PSTA ahead of many transit agencies in the area.
PSTA bus operators will have the highest wages compared to other public transit operators in Center and North Florida, making PSTA a competitive first-choice employer in Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area.
“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.” said PSTA Chief Executive Officer Brad Miller.
The new agreement will be in effect through September 30, 2018.
Highlights of the contract include:
- Increased starting pay‐rates for new hires and first year employees.
- FY 2016 – 2.5%
- FY 2017 – 3%
- FY 2018 – 3%
- Reduction in length of time (from 60 to 54 months) needed to reach maximum pay‐ rates through step progression.
- Stronger language requiring increased accountability for PSTA’s attendance & safety policies.
- Creation of Union and Management Committees requiring partnerships in addressing such important issues as health & wellness, medication management, scheduling & routing matters, accident & collision management, and implementing new customer service initiatives.
- Tightening of the general rules impacting employee performance.
- Incentives for decreasing high absenteeism thereby lowering overtime percentages.
- Much improved employee benefits to include pay provisions, vacation leave, and paid time–off opportunities.
- $300 (one-time) stored balance for employee Health Insurance Contributions
- $500 Annual Performance Bonus based upon Attendance
- The three year labor agreement with SEIU is within PSTA’s FY 2016 approved $29.6 million dollar salary budget as well as stays within ½ percent of PSTA’s projected budget presented to the Board for a three year period.
About PSTA: The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is the public transit provider for Pinellas County, providing more than 14.9 million rides per year. PSTA operates nearly 42 bus and trolley routes with a fleet of 210 vehicles. More information is available at .