Transportation Bill Passed—Section 13 (c) Protections Retained
Following two years of stonewalling by the White House, Congress finally passed the highway, transit and safety bill commonly referred to as TEA-21.
The final bill is known as SAFETEA-LU which was signed by President Bush. It provides $295 billion for highway, transit and safety programs through FY 2009. This is about $30 billion more than President Bush wanted.
One of the major labor issues in this bill was the retention of Section 13 (c) transit labor protections. Section 13 (c) has existed for more than four decades and is designed to ensure that federal funds provided for transit assistance are not used to harm existing employees of transit operations.
The Senate had passed a bill that would have weakened 13 (c) protections for workers. The final deal on Section 13 (c) rejected most of the egregious Senate changes. The reduction in the protective period from 6 year to 4 years was rejected and the 6 years was preserved.
The provisions covering transit employees’ rights to follow work when a new contractor takes over service was modified; however, it is limited to bus transit providers and does not apply to commuter rail employees.
Finally, 13 (c) protections were maintained in all core and existing transit programs.