74.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, May 16, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBUS WORKERS WILL FOREGO BENEFITS TO KEEP JOBS

BUS WORKERS WILL FOREGO BENEFITS TO KEEP JOBS

The operations manager for St. John's public transit system said Vitran workers in the St. Thomas-St. John district are willing to give up holiday, sick leave and overtime pay in order to avert pending mass layoffs.
Donna Roberts announced the proposal following a Thursday noon meeting called by leaders of the United Steelworkers Union at the St. Thomas Vitran bus terminal in Contant.
Union president Luis "Tito" Morales said public bus service would be cut by 50 percent as of May 11 territorywide because of the Public Works Department plan to lay off employees. He urged unionized employees to stay on the job and maintain full services while he lobbies the Legislature for more operating funds.
On Thursday morning, 29 Vitran rank and file workers and four management employes received layoff notices. The 29 consist of 20 bus drivers, three mechanics, two mechanic's helpers and four utility workers.
Roberts said the proposal to give up the pay benefits until the end of the fiscal year is intended to help the government trim operating expenses. "We the employees of Vitran — we are not now Vitran St. John or Vitran St. Thomas — we, the employees of Vitran are agreeing to give up all overtime pay," she said. But, she added, "We are not saying we will not work overtime when it's needed, because things happen."
She continued, "We also agree to give up all holiday pay. We also agree to report to work in a timely manner, giving 110 percent of our time, because we are here to serve the public. We do not want the service cut from the 10 buses that we have now on St. Thomas. . . We do not want the routes cut on St. John, where we have two bus line routes and two in reserve. We want the people of the Virgin Islands to be served for transportation. That's what public transit is all about."
On St. John, as things now stand, the Public Works layoffs are to eliminate every current Vitran worker but one — Roberts. Steelworkers organizer Randolph Allen told the St. John Vitran workers that since they were the last to join the bargaining unit (public transit has been existence for only two years on the island), they will be the first to go.
St. Thomas drivers and other workers with more seniority will be offered the St. John jobs if they are willing to move to the island, Allen said. Relocation to St. John would be mandatory because bus service starts in the morning before the first ferry from St. Thomas arrives around 6:50 a.m.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,712FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
The operations manager for St. John's public transit system said Vitran workers in the St. Thomas-St. John district are willing to give up holiday, sick leave and overtime pay in order to avert pending mass layoffs.
Donna Roberts announced the proposal following a Thursday noon meeting called by leaders of the United Steelworkers Union at the St. Thomas Vitran bus terminal in Contant.
Union president Luis "Tito" Morales said public bus service would be cut by 50 percent as of May 11 territorywide because of the Public Works Department plan to lay off employees. He urged unionized employees to stay on the job and maintain full services while he lobbies the Legislature for more operating funds.
On Thursday morning, 29 Vitran rank and file workers and four management employes received layoff notices. The 29 consist of 20 bus drivers, three mechanics, two mechanic's helpers and four utility workers.
Roberts said the proposal to give up the pay benefits until the end of the fiscal year is intended to help the government trim operating expenses. "We the employees of Vitran -- we are not now Vitran St. John or Vitran St. Thomas -- we, the employees of Vitran are agreeing to give up all overtime pay," she said. But, she added, "We are not saying we will not work overtime when it's needed, because things happen."
She continued, "We also agree to give up all holiday pay. We also agree to report to work in a timely manner, giving 110 percent of our time, because we are here to serve the public. We do not want the service cut from the 10 buses that we have now on St. Thomas. . . We do not want the routes cut on St. John, where we have two bus line routes and two in reserve. We want the people of the Virgin Islands to be served for transportation. That's what public transit is all about."
On St. John, as things now stand, the Public Works layoffs are to eliminate every current Vitran worker but one -- Roberts. Steelworkers organizer Randolph Allen told the St. John Vitran workers that since they were the last to join the bargaining unit (public transit has been existence for only two years on the island), they will be the first to go.
St. Thomas drivers and other workers with more seniority will be offered the St. John jobs if they are willing to move to the island, Allen said. Relocation to St. John would be mandatory because bus service starts in the morning before the first ferry from St. Thomas arrives around 6:50 a.m.