Anti-Union Legislation Endangers Federal Funding for Transit Authority
SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Teamsters are calling on Utah Governor Spencer Cox to veto House Bill 243. HB 243 would strip collective bargaining rights from confidential, managerial, and supervisorial public transit workers. In doing so, the legislation would run afoul of federal law and jeopardize more than $224 million in federal grants for the Utah Transit Authority (UTA).
“This is a blatant and poorly designed attack on collective bargaining rights for our members at the UTA,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “If signed into law, this would jeopardize the future of not just Teamsters, but all UTA workers and everyone in Utah who relies on public transportation on the Wasatch Front. Gov. Cox needs to veto this bill now.”
“This legislation is the epitome of cutting off your nose to spite your face,” said Spencer Hogue, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 222. “If this is signed into law, it will most likely cost Utah more than $5 million for each worker who loses their collective bargaining rights. If that happens, you know who to blame.”
Section 5333(b) of Title 49 U.S. Code specifies that arrangements must provide for, among other things, the preservation and the continuation of collective bargaining rights for transit workers of a state or municipal authority to be certified for grants from the Federal Transit Authority (FTA). On Feb. 17, the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) announced it was withdrawing certification for a UTA project, putting future FTA funding on hold for it until further notice. Prior to OLMS pulling the certification, the Dept. of Labor sent a letter to members of the Utah House of Representatives warning them that HB 243 would put the UTA in breach of contract for the current and future grants it receives from the federal government.
“As a general matter, a law that removed or diminished any transit employees’ collective bargaining rights would raise serious concerns with regard to OLMS’ ability to certify grant applications for UTA and that absent such certifications, FTA funds could not be awarded to UTA,” the letter said.
The sponsors of HB 243, Representative Jon Hawkins (R-Pleasant Grove) and Senator Michael K. McKell (R-Spanish Fork), have not yet put forth a plan that would yield more than $220 million in new revenue for the state’s coffers in the event of the FTA ending grants for Utah’s largest transit authority.
Teamsters Local 222 serves over 4,500 members working for dozens of employers throughout Utah. For more information, go to TeamstersLocal222.org/.
Matt McQuaid, (202) 624-6877
SOURCE Teamsters Local 222