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Better wages and benefits after DCTA hires its own bus drivers

A DCTA bus rests at a bus stop in this file photo.
DRC file photo
A DCTA bus rests at a bus stop in this file photo.

The Denton County Transportation Authority has hired all bus drivers from the organization they cut ties with, which had employed bus operations and support staffers since 2019.

As reported by the Denton Record-Chronicle, the DCTA board of directors cut ties with the North Texas Mobility Corporation last month after the resignations of key leaders prevented the corporation from raising wages and hiring new bus operators.

DCTA CEO Paul Cristina said via email that staffers have worked diligently in planning the transition from NTMC to DCTA. This includes better wages and benefits for bus operators.

“Their job functions, place of work, and other important features of their daily jobs are virtually unchanged through this transition,” Cristina said via email. “However, their pay and benefits provide a substantial positive impact. In addition to a significant wage increase, bus operators will receive a medical, dental, and vision benefits package that greatly reduces their deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums; additional time off for illness, vacation, and holidays; participation in the Texas County & District Retirement System; and the care and support that comes from being an employee of DCTA.”

While the DCTA board of directors didn’t discuss the item during Tuesday morning’s meeting, Cristina sent a letter to the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1338 in early June regarding the bus operators’ acceptance of the DCTA offer letter.

“As of today [June 7], 51 of 51 NTMC bus operators have accepted offers of employment with DCTA,” Cristina wrote to the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1338.

As a public agency in the state of Texas, DCTA cannot collectively bargain with the union.

However, Cristina said via email that the resignation of the NTMC general manager in January and the human resources manager in March caused the collective bargaining process to cease because NTMC no longer had an agent who could collectively bargain with ATU Local 1338.

“This circumstance offered an opportunity for DCTA to consider direct employment of the operators, enabling them to receive all benefits offered to public employees of DCTA,” Cristina said via email. “DCTA took this action to honor the rights of the bus operators under federal law while complying with state law to ensure the continuity and continued success of the bus service through competitive wages and benefits that enable bus operator retention and recruitment. We believe our DCTA team overseeing transit operations is best for our community. DCTA intends to fully comply with federal and state law throughout this transition and thereafter.”

Cristina also said they would honor DCTA bus operators’ requests to unionize if they choose to do so.

“DCTA understands that persons employed by DCTA as bus operators will have the right to join a union and be represented with regard to wages, hours of employment, and conditions of work if they so choose,” Cristina said. “At this time, DCTA continues to work cooperatively with the ATU Local 1338 to best serve DCTA bus operators and transit users.”