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Hillsborough bus drivers, maintenance workers sign new contract

Some of the provisions, including wage increases, depend on whether the Florida Supreme Court upholds the county’s one-cent transportation sales tax.
Members of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority board approved a new collective bargaining agreement Monday with the local chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times] [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
Members of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority board approved a new collective bargaining agreement Monday with the local chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times] [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]

TAMPA — Hillsborough County’s transit workers finally have a new contract, something they’ve been without since October 2018.

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority board approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1593 chapter Monday. However, many of the benefits, such as wage increases, shift differential and retroactive payments are dependent on the Florida Supreme Court upholding the one-cent transportation sales tax voters approved in November 2018.

The new agreement includes a 3-percent, one-time payment for 630 employees, including bus drivers and maintenance workers. But an additional $5 million in wage increases and $3 million in nine-month retroactive payments will not occur unless the sales tax stays in place.

The latter increase would up the lowest paid position from $11.42 to $15.10 per hour.

Other benefits include a $25 increase in the uniform voucher, a tool allowance increase of 8 percent annually, and two additional floating holidays, bringing the total to 12 paid holidays.

The approved contract includes provisions that aim to strengthen the relationship between the transit agency and the union, such as establishing a labor management committee and an internal health and safety committee.

If the Supreme Court overturns the sales tax, the two parties would return to contract negotiations within 10 days.

The board unanimously approved the agreement, which extends to Sept. 30, 2021.

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