Public transit union workers rally against management company

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DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Decatur public transit employees say they are fed up with the way the private management company is running the operation.

Union workers showed that frustration at a rally before the city council meeting on Monday. They say they’re frustrated about dealing with the insurance and payroll problems they’ve faced with MV Transportation.

The city hired MV Transportation to manage the transit system six years ago. Because of the ongoing issues employees say they’ve dealt with, the union is asking the city to select a different private management company. But the city council has yet to publicly respond to the union’s complaints or what they plan to do about this moving forward.

The union workers have several complaints against the company, like payroll problems. Union President Nanette Ruffin says, “We had improper hours on our payroll that we worked that weren’t showing up. We had money issues that were from $800 down to pennies.” She also says they’ve had issues with insurance coverage. “We have a guy that’s worked here since July 1st that was supposed to have full insurance and now he has COVID-19 and has no insurance. He’s been trying to get it since then.”

Ruffin says, during open enrollment for insurance, employees who worked and drove late in the day weren’t able to answer calls from the company, time lapsed for enrollment, and now they are not provided options to enroll at all.

Another complaint by the union is that MV Transportation has not provided continual supplemental travel throughout the pandemic like extra busses and staff to mitigate overcrowding. They also claim administrative employees have not been given 401k benefits. The union says they have tried to contact MV Transportation but have received little to no response in many cases. Ruffin says, “Progress as far as working together and cooperation with each other is not happening.”

WCIA contacted MV Transportation for a response to the union’s complaints. The company’s full response to each accusation is posted below…

“MV is proud to serve Decatur and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship with the city.  We have a talented team that is passionate about serving the community and we continue to work closely with the union to develop mutually beneficial terms of agreement.   We believe MV offers the expertise, experience, and the level of efficiency and industry-leading safety that will best serve the Decatur community. 

I’d like to respond to your questions….

Question: Why has MV Transportation not enforced and provided continual supplemental travel busses/staff throughout the pandemic to mitigated overcrowding?

Answer: MV closely follows social distancing guidelines presented by the Centers for Disease Control in addition to guidelines developed by the Decatur Public Transit System along with providing our employees with all necessary required Personal Protective Equipment. Additionally, we have provided hazard pay to our Decatur employees with financial support from our DPTS customer and government CARES funding.

Question: Why are some employees not being provided insurance currently (since January)?

Answer: All MV employees were provided an open enrollment period in December of 2019, clearly communicated via written and verbal distribution methods numerous times allowing them to sign up for 2020 benefits.

Question: The union president says employees who worked and drove late in the day weren’t able to answer calls from the company, time lapsed for enrollment, and now they’re not provided options to enroll at all. Is this the case?

Answer: This is not accurate. The enrollment period was 24×7 for over two weeks, including weekends. The period was also extended for a few employees that contacted leadership and requested an extension for reasons such as health or scheduling issues.

Question: Why are administrative employees not given 401k benefits? (Dispatchers, road supervisors, admin clerks etc.)

Answer: Our employees have been eligible for the MV 401(k) with a company match since the beginning of the transition period. In March 2020, the administrative staff (identified above) elected to join the union. To date, the union has turned down three productive proposals submitted by MV regarding wages and benefits, including a proposal for administrative employees to enroll in the driver ATU 401(k) plan plus match upon ratification. An agreement continues to be in the negotiation phase for our administrative employees.”

Jeff Womack
Chief Marketing Officer | MV Transportation, Inc.

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