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January 8 2009

Update, Jan 13: Transit Arbitration Award 2005-2007

We've placed a copy of the Transit Arbitration Award 2005-2007 document on the website. Click below for the .PDF file:

Interest Arbitration: 2005-07
Agreement, Transit Design and
Construction Staff Unit


  1. Transit Settlement - Arbitrator awards 12.25% across-the-board increase
  2. WW Bargaining Session held on December 29th
  3. TEA files ULP over Furloughs
  4. Advertisements
  5. January Meeting Calendar

1 - Transit Arbitration Award

On December 23rd, Arbitrator, Michael Beck issued a wage award that contains across the board increases covering the three years equal to 12.25% Much of the increase was frontloaded to the first day of the contract. The first year (2005) was 5.58% and the second (2006) and third year (2007) increases equaled 90% of the Seattle CPI.

This offer exceeded the County's median wage increase by over 2%. (The County's median increase proposal was 10.08%). While 18 bargaining unit positions would have received more at the top of the wage scale from the County's proposal than the Arbitrator's Award, 51 would have received less. Furthermore, the Arbitrator awarded increases across the board so that those employees not at top step receive the full increase, something that the County's proposal would not have allowed. Due to the size of the awarded wage increase, the 19 positions that would have been Y rated and suffered a loss in the real wage (the amount after inflation is subtracted) were spared that result. The County had offered one-time mitigation money to offset the impact on those 19 position for the years 2005-07 but those positions would have had their pay reduced starting in 2008.

The Arbitrator ruled in TEA's favor on several key issues that resulted in this wage increase but also laid the ground work for future strong contracts:

  1. He ruled in TEA's favor that the Seattle CPI as determined by the previous arbitrator should be used in the contract.
  2. He ruled in TEA's favor that as determined by the previous arbitrator that the positions should not be forced onto the squared table and that the contract adjustments should be based on market data not the County's established pay ranges for what it deems to be similar positions for other bargaining units.
  3. He ruled in TEA's favor as determined by the previous arbitrator that in matching City of Seattle positions the highest paid matching positions should be used.
  4. He ruled in TEA's favor and overturned the ruling of the prior arbitrator, that merit pay should not count against the employees in making the market wage calculations.
  5. He made the wage increases across the board while the County's proposal would have only extended the increases to the top wage step and allowed only a COLA adjustments coupled with future step increases to acquire the pay from the higher range.
  6. He rejected the County's argument that the Engineer V wage should be reduced to the level accepted by the Teamsters in the supervisor contract, granting a first year wage rate 1.07% above the Teamster 2007 Engineer V rate increase (4.51%). Likewise he reiterated several times in his decision that the wages for the bargaining unit should not be controlled by other County wage scales.

2 - Wastewater Contract Negotiations

TEA met with the County on December 29th for a bargaining session. The County presented a "counter" wage proposal for COLA only. While this is was an improvement over the County's previous contract proposal, it does not reflect the results of the salary survey results and falls below expectations of the bargaining team. The next step is for both sides to meet with State-assigned mediator, Starr Knutgen. Scheduling for mediation underway.

3 - TEA Files Unfair Labor Practice (ULP)

TEA has filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint with the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) over the County's unilateral implementation of the Furlough on January 2nd and their failure to negotiate with TEA before implementation. Individual TEA members are also encouraged to file grievances with TEA over contract violations of the furlough. Grievance forms can be downloaded from the TEA website.

4 - Advertisements

TEA members can post classified ads for free. Send classified ads to TEA Secretary Ken Madden at ken.madden@kingcounty.gov

5 - January Meetings

   January 13 - Council of Reps, 12-1, KSC 4D
   January 14 - TEA Board, 12-1, KSC 4G
   January 21 - TEA Monthly Member Meeting, 12-1, KSC, 3 D&E
   January 27 - TEA Grievance Committee Meeting

TEA Board

   Roger Browne, President
   Ade Franklin, Vice President
   Ken Madden, Secretary 
   Terry Browne, Treasurer
   Eric Davison, Wastewater Bargaining Chair
   Jerry Williams, Transit Bargaining Chair
   John Phillips, Council of Reps. Chair