Link Transit Consider Giving Bus Drivers $2,500 Bonus Checks Amid Rising Inflation Fears
Reeling from rising inflation rates and understaffing, Link Transit proposed payments for current and future bus drivers. However, the Link Transit board decided they need more information.
Link Transit’s Administrative Services Manager Lynn Bourton and Finance Manager Nick Covey presented this proposal during the July 19 Link Transit board meeting.
Effective August 1, 2022, all non-bargaining employees (which is all employees other than bus drivers), would receive a one-time inflation adjustment payment of $2500.
On January 1, 2023, all employees, including bus drivers, would receive a one-time retention bonus of $2500.
Any new employee hired after Augusts 1, 2022 would receive a $2000 hiring incentive.
As of June, the US CPI rose to 9.1%. These bonuses are geared towards combating their growing understaffing issue, along with higher rent and living costs for their drivers.
Impact to the budget would be $585,000, however Bourton explained how Link currently sits at $1.1 million under budget.
In June , the Board approved a market adjustment increase for all bus drivers (bargaining unit), ranging from 4 - 16%, depending on their current wages. This was done to bring our coach operator wages up to current market scale.
Teamsters Local 760 Business Agent and Political Coordinator Paul Parmley said they should reject the proposal until more information is given.
After the presentation, Douglas County Commissioner Kyle Steinburg made the motion to reject the proposal, with Chelan County Commissioner Bob Bugert, Bob Goedde, and Douglas County Commissioner Marc Straub voting for the rejection and Anne Hessburg, Chelan County Commissioner Tiffany Gehring, Mark Kulaas, Cashmere Mayor Jim Fletcher, and Joyce Huber being against it.
After that motion failed, Fletcher made a second motion to table this action item until they could gather more information. The motion passed, with everyone except Kyle Steinburg and Marc Straub voting to reject the item overall.
Discussion on bonuses will be revisited once the board receives more information on the effect this will have on inflation.