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32 $18.00 $16.00 $14.00 $12.00 Starting Wage $10.00 $8.00 $6.00 $4.00 $2.00 $0.00 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Annual Post-Training Turnover Figure 3-8. Relationship between starting paratransit operator wages and annual post-training turnover. operators for all respondents (public and private) is shown on union. Union representation of all operators was higher the Y-axis. Annual post-training turnover is shown on the among public agencies--71% of public agency operators X-axis. A linear trend line has also been added. were all represented, while 58% of private vehicle operators As shown, there appears to be a general relationship between were represented. starting wages and annual turnover. On average, turnover Another seven respondents (10%) indicated that some para- appears to decrease with higher starting wages. There also transit vehicle operators were represented. This included 7% of appears to be significant variation, though, which suggests that the public agencies that responded and 12% of the private con- while wages do have an impact on turnover, other factors also tractors that responded. cause turnover. The relationship between levels of compensa- No paratransit operators were represented by a union in 19 tion and turnover rates is explored in more detail in Chapter 5. of the systems that responded (27%). This included 21% of the public agencies and 30% of the private contractors. Responses to the question on union representation were Union Representation cross-tabulated with the information provided on paratran- and Impacts on Wages sit vehicle operator wages to determine if union representa- All respondents who indicated that they employed vehicle tion had an impact on wages. Table 3-6 shows the informa- operators and operated services directly were asked to indi- tion from this cross-tabulation. Starting wage information is cate whether or not the paratransit vehicle operator work- used in this cross-tabulation. Information is provided sepa- force was represented by a union. Respondents were asked to rately for public agencies and private contractors to minimize indicate if all operators were represented by a union, some the already known difference in pay rates between public and were represented by a union, or none were represented by a private agencies. union. Table 3-5 provides the responses of 71 public agencies As shown in Table 3-6, among public agencies, the average and private contractors who answered this question. starting pay rate was about $1.00 higher for union repre- As shown in Table 3-5, 45 of the 71 respondents (63%) sented operators than for non-union operators. For private indicated that all paratransit operators were represented by a contractors, the difference was more pronounced--$2.15 higher when all operators are part of a union and $1.43 higher even if only some operators are part of a union. The average Table 3-5. Paratransit vehicle operator starting wage in the 20 public systems where all operators union representation. were represented was $12.33 while the average starting wage for the 13 private contractors where no operators were part All Some None Total Public 20 2 6 28 of a union was $9.03. This difference of $3.30 per hour is sig- Private 25 5 13 43 nificant and explains at least some of the difference in annual Total 45 7 19 71 turnover between public transit agencies and private contrac-