Buzz: ECAT workers lowest paid in state; court injunction coming

September 21, 2011

According to union officials, the striking workers at Escambia County Area Transit make between $!2/hour to a high of $16.47/hour – which makes the lowest paid transit drivers in the state, maybe the entire nation. Over 60 percent of the workers are African-American, and 40% of that number are female.

The industry average is $23/hour.

“But this strike isn’t about wages,” said Amalgamated Transit Union International Vice President Gary Rauen. “It’s about human dignity. It’s about having a safe workplace.”

Additional Buzz, Veolia Transport, the French company that has the contract to run ECAT, is seeking a court injunction to force the workers back to work tomorrow. The union contract expires Sept. 30.

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  • Michael Lowery September 23, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Tensions are high at ECAT – today (Friday – September 23rd) on the job – workers are pushing me for another walkout. ECAT Management / Veolia made all drivers sign a document to check our drivers license. A supervisor harassed a 16 year bus operator the next morning after the strike. Today some employees complained of their paychecks being short – one didn’t get her holiday pay from Labor Day and another was short 8 hours on her vacation pay.

  • Michael Lowery September 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    UPDATE for Rick and followers: Judge Allen ruled that he does not have jurisdiction on the injunction filed by Veolia Transportation and therefore he ruled with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1395.

    A Federal Mediator is attempting to get both sides back to the negotiating table by September 30th. The agreed upon extension only goes through the 30th, therefore the Union may be back on the street again. ATU International Vice President Gary Rauen stated he may meet with Management on the 4th of October. The Union plans to hold a meeting next week with the members.

    I’m in contact with the President of ATU Local 1433 in Phoenix and we’re both communicating on potential joint walk-outs on Veolia.

    Ask yourself this – Why do we support a French Company receiving a Management fee with our tax payers money? The money has to be going out of this country.

    Mike Lowery, President/Business Agent, ATU Local 1395 – Pensacola

  • Ames September 22, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I’m not clear on what you are saying, Teresa. Are you saying that wages and pay rates in the Panhandle are too low overall, or are you saying transit drivers are paid too much, and everyone else is paid too little? If you would like to be a transit bus driver you,too, can obtain the training for that license. But wages and pay rates in the Esc/SR area have been comparatively low for at least 40 years, with government workers being an exception.

  • Teresa September 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    In a economy like this were complaning about driving a bus and making $12 to $16 an hour???? Give me a break! Most people would be happy to have a job that paid that much.

  • Ames September 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I wonder how much money Veolia Transport’s corporate lawyers are taking out of the transit workers’ pay.

  • eric September 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I bet Chip’s correct. (That’s two things, Chip)

    One would have to wonder how much the union dues are taking out of the worker’s pockets.

    According to the Union rep it’s about a safe workplace and human dignity. Are the buses not safe?

  • chip chism September 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I am pretty confident every government employee in escambia county will be near the bottom when it comes to salary….

  • Brian C. Abrams September 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    So they do not get paid the same as other drivers elsewhere?

    As long as the employer can get the employees they desire at the pay offered, there is no need to pay more, is there?