A proposed union contract for 4,200 transit workers would defer next year’s raise, to help King County Metro survive funding problems over the next several months.
If members approve, cost-of-living increases would be 0, 2 percent, and 2 percent over the next three years, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced at a morning news conference, along with local union President Paul Bachtel. If new revenue sources are found to prevent service cuts, the third year would add 1.67 percent that would be skipped in the first year, Constantine said.
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 approved a similar deal right after the recession — making this the second contract in a row to propose a first-year wage freeze.
Veteran, full-time bus drivers earn about $30 per hour excluding overtime, and experienced mechanics can earn more.
Constantine announced the proposal today just before state lawmakers hold afternoon committee hearings on a $12 billion highways and ferries package. County officials want the state to grant the authority to to send a car-tab tax to the ballot for buses and local roads. The union proposal would show lawmakers the county is taking every possible step to run transit efficiently, supporters said.
County Councilmember Larry Phillips of Magnolia said “time is running out,” and the county will craft its own revenue-raising ballot measure if lawmakers won’t help Metro in a special session by the end of 2013.
Metro is currently in a ridership growth phase, serving an average 412,000 weekday passengers in October.