Spokane Machinists ratify deals to keep buses rolling
Six Machinists at Durham School Services ratified a two-year contract, while the five Machinists working for First Transit ratified a three-and-a-half-year deal.
The Machinists at Durham maintain Spokane School District buses, while the First Transit Machinists maintain buses run by the Spokane Transit Authority and the private St. George’s School in Spokane, as well as paratransit vans operated by Kootenai County in Idaho.
Both groups unanimously approved their contracts in September. It is the second contract for both units, whose members are part of Machinists Local 86 in Spokane, which in turn is affiliated with Machinists Union District Lodge 751 in Seattle.
Union Stewards at both shops described bargaining as tough, with their companies facing spending cuts by their customers – local governments – who themselves face budget shortfalls.
“The best thing about our contract is we all still have jobs,” said John Carbury, the Steward for First Transit.
But despite that, negotiators for the union and the company were able to reach a deal that “we were comfortable going back to our guys with,” he said.
The same was true at Durham, said Steward Joe Marek. “They were still willing to negotiate and we got a couple things out of it.”
At Durham, all workers will see 45-cent-an-hour raises in each year of the contract. The company also granted a work boot allowance and insurance for lost tools.
At First Transit, wages will go up 8 percent over the life of the agreement, plus workers will see increases in the allowances for boots and safety glasses and a new tool-replacement allowance.
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing in Seattle; District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 30,500 workers at 45 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. It has a network of seven local lodges including Local 86 in Spokane, Local 1123 in Wenatchee and Local 1951 in Richland.
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