State labor division exams RFTA supervisors’ eligibility to vote on union
The Colorado Division of Labor will review whether bus supervisors with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority are eligible to vote on unionizing, a spokeswoman said Thursday.
The labor division was informally contacted by a representative of both RFTA and the Amalgamated Transit Union this week, according to Cher Roybal Haavind, director of the Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations for the state of Colorado. No petition was submitted to establish an election for the supervisors, Haavind said, but the union representative indicated they would seek a decision on eligibility from the labor division.
“(Amalgamated Transit Union’s) request to reconsider is currently under consideration by the Division,” Haavind said. “We will likely have a decision within the next couple of weeks.”
RFTA operates the public bus service in the Roaring Fork Valley. Its drivers voted 65-22 in March to join the transit union. Driver Ed Cortez, a former Carbondale councilman, was elected president and business agent for the local chapter. The drivers are preparing their strategy for collective bargaining with RFTA management.
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Cortez said last week that 16 of 18 relief and senior supervisors recently gave notice they want to vote on a union. Relief supervisors split time between driving buses and overseeing drivers. They were declared ineligible for the March election by the labor division. RFTA objected to their inclusion in the election.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act says that workers in a continuous rather than sporadic supervisory position cannot vote to be in a union. The labor division ruled last winter that it “appeared the relief supervisors were on continuous rather than sporadic” supervisory duty, Haavind said.
The transit union would have to provide new information on the topic for the labor division to reconsider. Cortez couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday for specific information on the union’s position. He said last week that the union doesn’t consider the supervisor management based on their duties. The supervisors are paid by the hour.
Cortez said last week he was uncertain if the supervisors could vote to join the union with the RFTA drivers or if they would have to form a separate chapter with the Amalgamated Transit Union.
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