WALLA WALLA - Almost 18 months after their last contract expired, Valley Transit union employees recently approved an 18-month labor agreement that precludes any salary increases, while hiking their health-care deductibles and co-pays.
The contract signed March 17 covers members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents all non-supervisory employees with the Valley Transit Operations and Maintenance Departments.
While Union employees received no cost-of-living adjustments or salary increases, a new grade step was created for employees who have at least 30 years of service, and qualifies them for a 55-cent hourly raise.
Valley Transit General Manager Dick Fondahn said currently they have no employees who qualify for the 30-year step increase.
Transit route operators (drivers) earn $15.43 to $20.74 per hour, depending on length of service. Mechanics earn $16.50 to $24.92 per hour.
While deductibles and co-pays were increased, employees did receive a one-time $250 contribution to their Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association account.
The labor agreement covers the months from July 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2011.