Press Releases

Statement regarding possible strike

Jacksonville Transportation Authority Statement
Regarding Possible Strike by Bus Operators

JACKSONVILLE, FL (August 12, 2010) — Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s bus operations subsidiary, JTM, and the union representing bus operators, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), have been negotiating a new, three-year labor agreement since March.

Labor talks came to a standstill earlier this week and the union will present JTM’s final offer on Sunday, August 15. The union may reject the proposal and call for a strike vote.

Despite the current challenging economic climate, the ATU wants a 17 percent pay hike, an additional week of paid leave, an additional 20 percent for health insurance, and an additional 28 percent in pension contributions.

At a time when revenues are dropping and many transit systems around the country are laying off workers and reducing wages, JTA believes these are unreasonable and unrealistic demands.

Not wanting to sacrifice bus service to those Jacksonville citizens who depend on it to get to work, JTA has been cutting costs and holding administrative payrolls at the same level now for two consecutive years as bus operations revenues fell from $73 million in 2008 to an estimated $55 million this year. 
  
In its proposal, JTM is offering to maintain wages and health insurance benefits at current levels and revisit the issue after one year.
  
The JTA believes it has put forward the best possible offer during the most trying economic times since the Great Depression.
 
Under the current contract negotiated in 2006, JTA bus operators received a 12% pay increase over three years. In today’s economy, that is neither prudent nor possible.  Since 2009, 84 percent of the transit systems in the U. S. have raised fares, cut service or are considering both actions.

“We believe we have negotiated in good faith throughout the process,” said JTA CEO and Executive Director Michael Blaylock. “JTA’s goal is to maintain the level of service to our customers without laying off operators. We recognize the importance of transit to the community and how many people rely on our service each and every day to reach their jobs. Making decisions that would adversely impact the ability of the community to get to work is not acceptable.”

JTA is hopeful that the ATU members elect not to strike. However, if the ATU does strike, JTA is prepared to provide as much bus service as possible. Skyway, community shuttles and transit service for the disabled, both of which are represented by a different union, will be operating at regular capacity.

Updates and bus route advisories will be posted on this Web site and the JTA’s Facebook page.