Citi Bike's mechanics, technicians, call center agents and "balancers" (those workers who load up docking stations with bicycles) have negotiated the country's first ever contract for bikeshare employees—one that promises paid vacation, holidays, and parental leave, as well as 20% raises over the next five years.
"The majority of the work force has been here since Citi Bike launched in May 2013, and hasn't seen a raise," said Dave Kellman, a station technician from Bed-Stuy who works out of Citi Bike's Delancey Lot under the Williamsburg Bridge. "I think that's one of the biggest wins."
The company's 200 full-time and seasonal employees joined Transportation Workers Union Local 100—which also represents New York's bus and subway workers—last September, at a time when things weren't looking good for New York's fledging bikeshare program. Earlier that year, Bixi, the Canadian company that developed Citi Bike's technology, had filed for bankruptcy; complaints about broken down bikes, overcrowded docks, and shoddy payment methods were piling up; and reports had surfaced that Citi Bike needed tens of millions to stay afloat.
The union set out "to improve a problem-plagued operation that was being terribly managed and was in jeopardy of failing on the biggest stage," said TWU 100 president John Samuelsen in a statement.
Before Motivate stepped in, "There was a lot of mismanagement and miscommunication, and problems from the top," said Kellman, who described scheduling that was "erratic, to say the least." Now, under the new contract, "Everyone who wants to work 40 hours a week is getting it."
All full-time employees will also see an immediate 10% raise, which will increase an additional 10% over the next five years. For mechanics, that'll be a boost from $16.91 to $20.50 per hour by 2020. For truck drivers, $18.45 to $21.75.
Motivate and Local 100 have also agreed to form a Workers' Council, which will meet with upper management on a "regular basis" to discuss workplace improvements going forward, according to a TWU spokesman.
"We have been very committed to the collective bargaining process and are happy to have reached an equitable agreement," said Dani Simons, External Affairs director at Motivate, in a statement.