A group of 22 bus drivers who transport passengers for Columbia County’s “CC Rider” transit service is now union-represented.
In a Sept. 27 election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board, the drivers voted 13 to 7 to join Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757. The drivers are employees of MTRWestern, a Seattle-headquartered charter bus and shuttle transport company. Columbia County owns the vehicles and the transit center in St. Helens where trips originate, but since 2016 has paid MTRWestern to hire and oversee drivers.
Low pay is the biggest issue for drivers, says Local 757 spokesperson Andrew Riley. Drivers can earn as little as $13 an hour after more than a decade at CC Rider, Riley said.
CC Rider provides bus service between the communities of Clatskanie, Rainier, St. Helens, Scappoose, and Vernonia, as well as trips from Columbia County to downtown Portland, PCC Rock Creek, and Kelso/Longview, Washington.