The Austin Chronicle

Cap Metro Moves To Outsource

By Lee Nichols, August 26, 2011, News

In a Tuesday work session, Capital Metro's board of directors announced it would move ahead at next week's meeting with a proposal to outsource all of its rank-and-file work force to truly private contractors, scrapping its pseudo contractor, StarTran. A state law passed in the most recent legislative session mandates that Cap Metro either bring all employees in-house (which would require them to give up collective bargaining rights) or outsource them. Since the union rejected the former option, the board went for the latter. However, the board announced assurances to Amalgamated Transit Union 1091 that raise doubts about whether the privatizing option will really save money: All current StarTran employees would be guaranteed a job at their current wage rate, new contractors would be required to offer equivalent medical and life insurance, accrued pension benefits would be honored, and ATU 1091 would continue to be recognized as the collective bargaining representative. In a June presentation, Texas A&M's Texas Transporta­tion Institute said that immediate privatization at market wages would almost immediately begin producing substantial savings, while privatizing with a guarantee of StarTran wages for three years would result in losses for six years before savings began to be realized.

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