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— by Julie Sneider, assistant editor
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) isn't the first employer to tie pay raises to how well the organization is doing financially. But the transit agency's new contract with the Fraternal Order of Police-Ohio Labor Council (FOP) is unusual among public transit systems because it links pay raises to passenger fare and sales tax revenue increases, says GCRTA Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Joe Calabrese.
The labor agreement, which covers 104 active FOP members through Feb. 28, 2014, requires that wage increases in 2012 and 2013 be based on GCRTA gains in fare and sales tax revenue for the previous years. Any annual wage hikes would be capped at 3 percent. As a result, GCRTA's FOP members will receive a 1.75 percent pay increase in September, based on the agency's fare and sales tax revenue in 2010. The 2012 raise, if there is one, will be based on 2011's revenue, which Calabrese says so far is "running strong."
The last time FOP members received a raise was in 2009, so a pay hike of 1.75 percent in 2011 — and possibly as much as 2.5 percent to 3 percent in 2012 — is a "very nice increase," Calabrese says.
FOP is one of two labor groups representing GCRTA employees. The other is Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), which represents 1,700 GCRTA workers, the bulk of the agency's workforce. ATU and GCRTA had not reached a new labor agreement as of press time, and Calabrese declined to comment on negotiations. However, he did say the wage increase deal with the FOP is one that "makes sense for all of our employees."