Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)
Mass Transit Employee Protections 49 U.S.C. § 5333(b)
Contract of Assistance - The document executed between the grant Recipient and the U.S. Department of Transportation (FTA) for providing funds from the Federal government. Transit employees and their unions are considered third party beneficiaries of the certified protective arrangements, and may enforce its terms and that of the DOL certification letter.
Mass Transit (Public Transportation or Public Transit) – Any entity engaged in regular, continuing shared-ride surface transportation services that are open to the general public or open to a segment of the general public defined by age, disability, or low income. Public Transportation is synonymous with mass transit and/or public transit. It includes regular fixed route service, paratransit services, commuter rail, and some over-the-road bus and intercity activities. This service may be provided by a Recipient of FTA funding, a private contractor of a Recipient, or a private provider not assisted with FTA funds.
Project - The operations, activities, transactions, and purchases for which the federal financial assistance are used make up a “project.” Protective arrangements contain specific definitions of the terms “project” and “result of the project.” For example the UPA states: “The term ‘Project,’ as used herein, shall not be limited to the particular facility, service, or operation assisted by federal funds, but shall include any changes, whether organizational, operational, technological, or otherwise, which are a result of the assistance provided. The phrase ‘as a result of the Project,’ shall, when used in this arrangement, include events related to the Project occurring in anticipation of, during, and subsequent to the Project and any program of efficiencies or economies related thereto; provided, however, that volume rises and falls of business, or changes in volume and character of employment brought about solely by causes other than the Project (including any economies or efficiencies unrelated to the Project) are not within the purview of this arrangement.”
Recipient and Subrecipient – A recipient is any entity receiving funding under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53. A subrecipient is any entity identified in the grant application as receiving funds from a recipient.
Service Area - The service area includes the geographic area over which the project is operated, adjacent areas, and the area whose population is served by the transit project receiving federal financial assistance. For example, if a transit system connects or competes with a second transit system, employees of that second system are considered to be in the service area. If a transit system feeds into a facility that serves rail and bus, then the rail and bus employees may be entitled to protections as service area employees. This can result in a transit company or authority providing protective arrangements for employees other than its own, and negotiating such arrangements with union representatives even though the union may not bargain collectively with its own employees.
Terms and Conditions of Certification - The DOL certification is a formal letter to the FTA that not only identifies the protective arrangements to be applied to the assistance to the grant recipient, but may also indicate other protective arrangements for any subrecipients seeking funds from FTA through the grant recipient. The certification letter also includes “terms and conditions” or instructions for the certification to the grant recipient, any subrecipients, and FTA. These “terms and conditions” are included in numbered paragraphs in the body of the letter. For example, the first itemized condition requires the FTA to include the protective arrangements and the certification letter in its grant contract with the recipient. The final condition provides that the Recipient must afford non-union service area employees “substantially the same levels of protection” provided to employees represented by the unions under the protective arrangements.
Transit Employee - Section 5333(b) protections are afforded to transit employees, whether they are union or non-union, and to employees of the grant recipient as well as to employees of other mass transportation employers in the service area of the grant, including, among others, bus drivers and mechanics, clerical and office employees, dispatchers, transit police, janitorial employees, parking lot attendants and supervisory personnel. Employees of terminal companies or intercity bus or rail providers are considered transit employees when federal assistance is used to construct or use an intermodal facility.
Last Updated: 12-17-14