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RTC Grants New Operator Contracts

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Photo- KXNT SamStone

Photo- KXNT SamStone

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Las Vegas CBS KXNT -A room full of disgruntled transit union workers looked on, as the Regional Transportation Commission voted to end a 20-year relationship with its current operator, Veolia Transportation Services, and to engage two new contractors to split up the transit region.

Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1637 offered strenuous opposition to the low-bidding operator who got one of the contracts. MV Transportation, Inc is the company that was granted the franchise for the northern portion of the region. Union members and lobbyists for Veolia suggested that the promised savings of $48 million dollars in MV’s bid would come at the expense of union jobs.

Workers also testified that creating two separate operations will cost them money.

“That will take a lot of overtime away from us,” said a driver identifying himself as Pete. “We won’t be able to go over to the other facility.”

Attorney Chris Kaempfer argued on behalf of Veolia that MV Transportation will deliver that cost savings by harming the workers.

MV’s chief executive appeared to answer the criticism, relating a low-overhead strategy that includes locating in a low tax state, fuel hedging, and a slender staff at the company’s headquarters. Carter Pate made a public promise to offer a job to any current transit worker who passes a drug test and a background check.

Pate’s declaration was met with jeers when he said MV would pay the same wage, but a “similar” benefits package. He was cautioned by the commission not to engage in collective bargaining at the RTC meeting. RTC officials are prohibited from interfering in labor negotiations, and can’t participate in disucssion about them.

The contract for the southern operation center was not contentious. Keolis Transit America, Inc. was granted routes that include the resort corridor and some residential areas.

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