ATU 587, King County Metro’s largest union, ratifies 3-year labor contract
SEATTLE (Aug. 18, 2023) — King County Metro’s largest union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587, and its 4,000 employees of transit operators ratified a three-year labor contract that increases wages by approximately 17 percent over the life of the contract and sets the foundation for recruiting and maintaining staff.
The agreement also includes a lump-sum retroactive payment, a retention bonus of $2,500, and a one-time $2,500 ratification signing bonus. The contract shortens the pay step progression and vacation accrual time for part-time transit operators, aligning it with the current policies for full-time employees.
Negotiations on the contract started in May 2022, with the parties reaching a tentative agreement this June. The ATU members ratified the contract on Aug. 15. Now, the contract awaits final action by the King County Council.
“The contract – which covers maintenance workers, bus drivers, train drivers, and other frontline employees – will provide approximately a 17 percent wage increase over three years, codifies a number of attraction and retention measures, better pay progression for new Part-time bus operators, and sign-on bonuses,” said Ken Price, president, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587. “These are opportunities that current Transit workers deserve. And they will help us bring more workers into the workforce to meet the needs of our county.”
“King County Metro, one of the nation’s most successful transit agencies, provides essential service to the people of King County, day in and day out, linking residents to work, school, play, and everywhere in between. None of that outstanding service would be possible without the people who drive the buses and maintain the fleet, and we’re excited to have this new agreement in place,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “This contract rewards the work our employees have done through the challenges of the last few years, while offering career pathways and opportunities for the new employees who will join them in the future.”
The adopted contract also provides incentives for new employees, with a $3,000 recruitment incentive for new hires in key positions, including transit operators, vehicle maintenance and rail mechanics, and Transit Customer Information Specialists. It includes incentives to trainee programs for key trades positions to encourage more people to begin training.
In addition to wages and other economic benefits, the contract achieved important efficiencies for Metro where staffing is concerned.
“The ratification of this agreement marks a key milestone in our longstanding partnership and demonstrates our shared commitment to invest in the members of the country’s finest public transportation workforce,” said Metro General Manager Michelle Allison. “We are proud of this partnership and the work we’ve done together. This agreement strengthens that foundation as we move forward.”
The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the United States and Canada. Local 587 represents King County employees who operate and maintain Metro buses, Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail, and the Seattle Streetcar, as well as employees who maintain facilities and provide customer service.
Ready for a raise and a voice at work? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better pay and working conditions. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!