July 25, 2016
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
Following news of a settlement between SMART General Committee 875 and LACMTA over of the loss of lines 190 & 194, the General Committee and Local Chairmen received a large number of questions. It also appears that half truths and misinformation have been circulating at some Divisions. This bulletin will hope to address and clarify some of those questions and concerns.
General Chairman Marco Gudino demanded bargaining under Article 51 of the contract. Article 51 states that the LACMTA could not eliminate or transfer lines “unless it shall first have made adequate provisions for any employees who are covered by this Contract between SMART-TD and the Authority, who are or may be displaced, or whose wages, hours, place or conditions of employment are or may be adversely affected.” Although this Article required some type of “adequate provisions,” it does not guarantee any type of monetary payout at all.
- LACMTA started with a financial offer of $0 along with a promise to not lay anyone off as a result of the loss of 190 & 194. LACMTA took the position that not even one operator was “adversely affected” because no single operator would be laid off or have his or her pay cut. General Chairman Gudino took this as an insult and demanded greater service and work protections as well as financial restitution for those members who were clearly “adversely affected.” The Authority attempted to deny and limit the scope of “adversely affected”, the Union pushed to expand the scope to the entire membership of Division 9.
Agreement between SMART and LACMTA
- Given that no LA Metro employee or union member is entitled to financial payout for the elimination of service, the financial restitution obtained in this agreement was prioritized to the employees who suffered the greatest “adverse affects”. Any claims outside the scope of “adversely affected” would have been an impossible legal burden to overcome. In other words, without the agreement negotiated by General Chairman Gudino, not one employee would have received any monetary compensation as a result of the loss of these lines.
- Financial restitution for operators was only a very small portion of the overall agreement reached between SMART and the LACMTA. The overwhelming biggest portion of the settlement pie went to greater reinvestment in bus service to replace much of the operator work that was lost due to the elimination of the lines. General Chairman succeeded in obtaining 50% more work created through reinvestment than the Authority originally proposed, and the creation of this extra work benefits every single SMART represented operator by greatly reducing the overall effect of the loss of lines 190 & 194.
- Further, General Chairman Gudino also managed to obtain a critically important and unprecedented concession from LACMTA - a 5-year moratorium on subcontracting, transfers or elimination of service on ALL LINES operated by SMART-TD represented employees. This provision of the agreement is what provides real “adequate provisions for any employees who are covered by this Contract” because it covers the entire LA Metro system and not just the lines at Division 9. The General Committee is aware that the LACMTA has been looking into further bus service eliminations and transfers as it appears to focus much more of its attention on light rail. This agreement puts a serious delay in those plans and serves as a warning to any future attempts.
Therefore, through this financial reinvestment and through the 5-year moratorium, General Chairman Gudino has obtained adequate protections for all operators across the system. In addition, he was able to obtain some small restitution for the operators most affected by the loss – the operators in Division 9 – even though no single operator has an entitlement to financial restitution or compensation. Any person claiming that the rest of LA Metro operators are somehow entitled to a financial payout due to the loss of lines 190 & 194, is exceptionally ill-informed and is carelessly spreading false claims and misinformation.