GRTC and union negotiating again

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – With a strike looming the GRTC and its union are now back at the bargaining table.

The union's national vice president says the GRTC has backed off of a major sticking point in its contract, so member will meet Saturday to go over this change and they will vote on May 1 whether or not to accept this proposal. Tonight we take a look at what GRTC bus drivers make and we find out how that compares to nearby cities.

Money began this battle. The GRTC says it can't afford pay raises this year. In the river city drivers start out making $12.90 an hour and can make as much as $19.84.

We decided to see how that compares to bus drivers in Charlotte, North Carolina and in Hampton Roads. Both transportation systems are slightly larger than the river city's.

"Our goal is to provide a competitive living wage for our employees but to that in a way that makes financial sense for the GRTC," said GRTC CEO John Lewis.

And we found that Richmond falls in the middle of the two regions. City bus drivers make less starting out when compared to Charlotte or Hampton Roads, but can top out in the middle of the two cities. Lewis says drivers start out at a lower pay because they often spend money training people who leave after getting their commercial drivers license for the private sector.

"If we're going to provide free training we want people who are going to stick with us and give us a chance to evaluate the work ethic and safety record of that individual," said Lewis.

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