July 8, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Panama City, FL – Paratransit and bus drivers in this Florida Panhandle resort town reached a tentative contract deal with the First Transit bus company July 6, after a late-night session with a federal mediator.
Details of the agreement can’t be released yet, said Mike Lowery, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1835, but drivers had been seeking a raise to $13 an hour. Paratransit drivers currently make about $10 and bus drivers on the Bay Town Trolley about $11. Many “struggle to pay their household bills,” bus driver Steven Granby, whose $11.27 wages supplement his Air Force pension, told WJHG-TV. A raise to $13, however, would still leave the drivers short of the $18 First Transit drivers make for “the exact same job” in the nearby city of Pensacola, Lowery said. Local 1835 members will vote July 10 on whether to ratify the deal. Read more