UTU S. Florida Tri-Rail agreement finalized

Published: October 31, 2011

Previsich

Operations center employees of South Florida Tri-Rail, who voted UTU “yes” early in 2011, have their first collective bargaining agreement in place.

It provides for a signing bonus; an immediate wage increase, plus additional wage increases in 2012 and 2013; a 40-hour weekly guarantee, plus punitive overtime pay; a reduction in the health care insurance premium; a meal period; and a scope rule.

Additionally, the agreement provides an enhanced vacation entitlement; a path to enter train and engine service with seniority protection; a bid process for assignments; a formal process for grievance and discipline handling; a 401(k) plan with an employer match; and work rules and conditions equivalent to those provided by contract for Tri-Rail’s train and engine workers represented by the UTU.

“Overall, this is an excellent first contract for a newly organized work group,” said UTU International Vice President John Previsich, who assisted with negotiations. “It is always very difficult to provide any improvements to the status quo on a new contract as companies are very reluctant to reward employees for choosing to bargain collectively.

“Negotiations were made more difficult by the unfortunate death of General Chairperson Roger Lenfest (GO 769) midway through the process, but Roger’s successor, Dirk Sampson, stepped in and did an excellent job of bringing the negotiations to a successful conclusion.”

Previsich praised the efforts of Sampson and Local 30 (Jacksonville, Fla.) Chairperson Andy D’Egidio “in working with the new members to ensure that they understood the negotiating process and that their wishes were met with the new contract.”

South Florida Tri-Rail, owned by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, is operated by Veolia Transportation Services and runs commuter trains over 71 miles of former CSX track linking West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami.