July 14, 2015
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—That’s what the president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100 said in a video interview after the union announced in a morning press conference that it successfully negotiated a contract after a marathon bargaining session that covers about 200 workers for the next five years.
John Samuelsen, TWU 100’s president, explained the significance of the union organizing bikeshare workers and signing North America’s first bikeshare contract.
“This is an industry that is skyrocketing with workers. And we have firmly established ourselves as the bikeshare union. TWU is the [country’s] first bikeshare union. We organized the first cities in the bikeshare [network] and now we’ve accomplished the first collective bargaining agreement. It’s a very pivotal moment in the history of the TWU,” said Samuelsen.
He noted in the video interview some of the benefits bikeshare workers will reap from the new contract.
“It’s an excellent contract; we fought hard to win the gains we’ve won. Over 20 percent in wage increases in a four-and-half -year contract, a 10 percent wage increase upon contract ratification and other significant victories as well,” Samuelsen said.
Those other benefits include eight weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave, a substantial benefit that the union successfully negotiated a little over a year ago when it reached a new agreement with the MTA.
The union hopes that the new contract with New York City’s bikeshare operator, Motivate, will be a template for other bikeshare contracts around the country.
“We’ve organized other cities in conjunction with the national union. The bikeshare industry is in its infant stages right now, perhaps a few thousand workers. But within the next 20 years there’ll be tens of thousands of workers in the industry. We’ve broken down the door so to speak in the bikeshare industry with a collective bargaining agreement. We expect that the 200 workers in New York that are covered by this first contract will lead to thousands and thousands of workers being covered by COBs around the country within the next decade or so,” said Samuelsen.