(Harrisburg) — Capital Area Transit (CAT) management is prepared to engage in pre-arbitration negotiations for a temporary contract with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1436, Bill Jones, CAT General Manager said today, “but only when full bus service is restored to the citizens of Cumberland and Dauphin Counties and the City of Harrisburg,” he emphasized.
Jones said that absenteeism and the refusal to work extra continue to impair service and CAT won’t allow tens of thousands of taxpaying riders to be caught in the middle of negotiations with the third highest paid driver workforce in the State of Pennsylvania.
“Our funding partners at the County and City level, including thousands of state employees, pay for first class transit service in rider fee and taxpayer funding and we won’t allow them to be inconvenienced to force concessions on a public transit agency,” Jones said.
At the current rate, CAT union drivers are paid about $5.00 more per hour than drivers at other transit agencies in central Pennsylvania.
“We want to be fair and equitable when we negotiate with our union employees,” Jones said, “but our commitment to public transit service must come first.”
CAT service has remained the same or has been slightly reduced since 2011 while our driver force has remained constant since then. “We have the same or less level of work since then, with the same number of 86 full time fixed route drivers,” Jones added. “We have no need to increase the CAT work force.”
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, CAT was incorporated in 1973 when Cumberland County and Dauphin County Commissioners and the City of Harrisburg organized Capital Area Transit to provide mass transit fixed-route and Paratransit shared-ride services, which today conveniently and safely transports about 3 million riders a year in the capital region.