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Augusta/Waterville KVCAP Drivers Make Improvements in New Contract

Andy O’Brien
14 Jan, 2022
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Augusta and Waterville drivers (Machinists Local S-89) at Kennebec Valley Community Action Program (KVCAP) have ratified a new three-year contract that includes several improvements over the previous one. In 2020, Waterville KVCAP voted to form a union with Machinists Local S-89 and joined the drivers in Augusta on the same contract. Members of the bargaining committee said negotiations went smoothly and the company was receptive to the workers’ proposals.

“The negotiations were one big attempt to improve the contract we won in 2020,” said KVCAP driver Peter Nielson, a member of IAM S-89. “Wages were the most important issue identified in our membership survey. We made improvements in areas that had caused problems since the last contract. We defined the number of unexcused absences that remain acceptable. We defined when video cameras can be used, and what for. We put a number to what at fault accidents trigger what consequences, and we got holiday pay for spare drivers. I hope this shows non-members what we are doing for them, and there's some evidence it has.”

In addition, the contract includes:

  • Locked in wage increases for years 2 and 3 of the contract. 
  • A raise in starting wages from $14.85 up to a maximum of $18.90/hour depending upon years of service. This addressed pre-existing  inequities as well as general wage compression issues related to the current economic landscape.
  • An increase in wages for drivers with commercial driver’s licenses from 25 cents to .50 cents per hour, plus an additional $1 for a passenger endorsement. 
  • Permission for the union to assist struggling probationary employees to help them succeed.
  • Giving members with the most seniority preference when granting December holiday vacation time a year in advance.