LOS ANGELES, CA – Effective May 1, unless City officials intervene, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT)/MV Transportation is planning to increase by 400 percent essential workers’ contributions toward health care and slash contribution to workers’ retirement by 80 percent. Under any economy this would be devastating to essential workers and their families; under the current conditions created by COVID-19, this move is unconscionable. If the City of Los Angeles permits their contractor, MV Transport, to slash workers’ pay and benefits, then the City will essentially be endorsing a significant decrease in wages for DASH drivers at a time when keeping hardworking families afloat is sorely needed.
“MV Transportation has advised us that starting May 1, they won’t be honoring our pay or benefits any longer. They told us that they’re moving us to another yard where they are requiring us to increase our contribution to our health insurance by 400%, slashing our retirement by more than 80%, and paying us lower wages,” said Efren Gonzalez, a 15-year Bus Driver with LADOT DASH/MV Transportation. “This has put a great strain on my family and I just don’t know what’s going to transpire for the future for my daughter, who is attending UCLA. If I stay with DASH, I won’t be able to pay her tuition and that’s so hard for me as I would like to be a good father and provide for her education.” (Click here
for Efren’s full video)
“DASH drivers, mechanics, and other personnel have already seen their hours cut by as much as 50 percent due to the pandemic,” said Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 848. “These new cuts, which amount to more than $10,000 per year for each MV employee, are heartless, the breaking point for these hard-working families. If LADOT moves forward with this callous plan, these Angelenos simply won’t be able to pay their rent, make their car payments, provide aid to family members, or finance their children’s college education. It’s no wonder that workers have recently conducted a wildcat sickout and more than 75 percent of our members working at DASH have requested transfers to other MV operations where they could maintain the same rate of pay and benefits or better but with route cuts due to COVID-19 there are few spots available.”
Teamsters Local 848, as well as Teamsters Local 572, currently represents the employees of MV Transport, which is the sole contractor for all six DASH units, both Commuter Express units, all City Ride Service, and LAnow services.
On February 15, 2019, LADOT put out a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) soliciting proposals for two five-year contracts for all of their lines. The RFP “strongly encouraged [bids] to propose wages and benefits for incumbent contract staff that are at a minimum, equal to what those employees are currently receiving from their incumbent contractor.”
All bidders, except the incumbent MV Transport, submitted bids that would have maintained compensation – including pay, health insurance, and retirement contributions – for all workers. MV Transport submitted a proposal that increased workers’ contribution toward their health insurance by approximately 400%, reduced by more than 80 percent MV’s contribution toward workers’ retirement, and – in many cases – significantly reduced workers’ hourly pay.
Even though LADOT encouraged bidders to – at a minimum – maintain current wages and benefits, LADOT looked the other way when MV Transit proposed a reduction in compensation. In fact, LADOT awarded MV Transportation the bid to be the City of LA’s only transportation contractor, which has now put 100% of the City’s transportation service in jeopardy of being shutdown if there is a labor dispute at any of MV’s locations.