Transport Workers Union Local 100 President John Samuelsen today announced that the union has come to terms with the management of NYCBS-Motivate on a first-ever union contract for bikeshare workers in North America.
“This is an historic agreement,” Samuelsen said. “It greatly improves the income and benefits of these dedicated workers but just as importantly will lead to better service for bikeshare users. The workers organized and joined TWU last year first and foremost to improve a problem-plagued operation that was being terribly managed and was in jeopardy of failing on the biggest stage. They wanted the clout of the TWU in order to gain a voice in their workplace and help put the company on the road to recovery. Thanks to this contract and new company management, we are all now on that road.”
Under the agreement, the workers running the nation’s biggest bikeshare program win big raises—more than 20% over five years.
Full-time employees in New York will get an immediate average 10% boost to their hourly rates, a key worker goal, and will receive periodic raises throughout the life of the agreement.
Most mechanics, for example, will see their current rate of $16.91 increase to $20.50 by the end of the contract. Drivers will see their hourly rate of $18.45 rise to $21.75 over the same period.
The contract includes creation of an empowered Workers’ Council, another key union goal, to meet regularly with Motivate management. It will be a forum for worker representatives to propose operational changes and resolve work place problems.
The contract also mandates predictable and stable schedules for workers who will pick assignments through seniority. It establishes a system enabling workers to get priority for promotions. It also provides a grievance and discipline procedure to guarantee just cause. The union also won an array of other economic and benefit enhancements, including 8 weeks of fully paid parental leave, 8 paid holidays, the establishment of substantial paid annual vacation, paid medical benefits and night differential.
In New York, TWU represents approximately 200 mechanics, technicians, call center agents and “balancers,” staffers who supply docking stations with bicycles. The union also represents 300 additional workers at Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C., Divvy in Chicago and Hubway in Boston, all operated by Motivate.
New York’s bikeshare workers unionized with TWU in September 2014. Pending ratification by the membership in New York, TWU leaders will push to use the agreement as a template in TWU’s other unionized cities as a pathway to a national bikeshare contract.
Update as of July 16: Bikeshare members have overwhelmingly ratified their first union contract by an 83 percent margin (97-19).