The Utah Transit Authority is moving forward with installation of surveillance cameras on buses despite the transit union’s claim that the move is a violation of the collective bargaining agreement.
UTA officials say they are spending more than 2 million dollars to install surveillance cameras in a fleet of 600 buses in order to improve passenger safety and transit efficiency. Attorney Joseph Hatch represents the transit union. He says drivers should have a say in how these cameras are used.
“Is this an invasion of privacy? How are they going to use these films? How long do they keep the tapes? Who gets to review the tapes? All those sort of issues have never been addressed or negotiated with the union,” Hatch says.
Union leaders have filed a grievance under the collective bargaining agreement.
“You cannot unilaterally alter working conditions without sitting down and talking with the exclusive bargaining agent for the employees,” Hatch says.
“That’s kind of a fine legal point,“ UTA spokesperson Remi Barron says. “The union wants to change the work rules under the collective bargaining agreement. UTA’s position is it doesn’t fall under that, it’s not covered by the collective bargaining agreement, but of course we’re willing to negotiate with them on how the cameras are used.”
In fact union members have already submitted a proposal to UTA management, which was rejected. They wanted to limit how cameras would be used in the case of accidents or operator misconduct, which Barron says is unreasonable. If the two sides do not come to an agreement, the grievance may go to arbitration. In the meantime, Barron says the cameras are being installed, as are stickers by the doors warning passengers that they are being watched and recorded.