Labor-Management Partnerships

Work together for better results

With experienced facilitators and experts in labor-management relations, the Transportation Learning Center can help build labor-management partnerships that:

  • Improve workplace atmosphere
  • Plan trainings that everyone will support
  • Allow your workforce to pursue new initiatives as partners
  • Provide a forum for agency-wide input

Federal support for transit revolves around big capital expenditures. When a new rail line opens, or a fleet of new buses arrive, that’s big news for the transit agency. Top level officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation to the local transit agency put a very high priority on making sure that these big equipment purchases include use of the most up-to-date and capable technology.

Ultimately though, people operate that technology. To become really modern, high-performance organizations, transit at all levels need to pay more attention to its workforce.

A good relationship between labor and management in the transit industry is the key to a positive and productive workforce. Typically, blue collar jobs comprise 80-85% of all transit agency jobs, and up to 95% of those employees are union members. Bargaining over wages can be tough.  Disciplinary disputes get even tougher.  Too often, the contentious relationship develops a dynamic of its own.  Couple this fact with an economy that has lead to the shrinking of local and state government revenues, and in turn, the reduction of transit funding, and the road to a cooperative labor-management relationship becomes even rockier.

Fortunately, not all the interactions between labor and management have zero-sum outcomes. To cite just one example, both sides can benefit from an improved training program.  Better health and safety also benefit everyone.  The Center has over a decade of experience building labor-management partnerships in the transit industry.

Related Projects:

Transit Technology Career Ladder Partnership

July 2012-June 2012 (2001-2012) Read More

FTA funding for the Center under the Transit Technology Career Ladder Partnership program was continuous from the Center’s founding in early 2001 until the summer of 2012. Funded originally on a discretionary basis by DOT, the TTCLP program was authorized at $500,000 annually in TEA-21 and $1,000,000 annually in SAFETEA-LU. Unfortunately this program, like all other policy direction for frontline workforce training, was left out of MAP-21.

TCRP Project E7: Building a Joint System of Qualifications for Transit Rail Car Technicians

June 2008-2013 Read More

The internal training capacity of the transit industry has had trouble keeping up with the pace of innovation in new rail vehicle technologies. With the growth of transit rail systems, it has likewise become increasingly difficult to hire new external applicants with the needed specialized skills. Upgrading the skills of the workforce that maintains this new technology and developing a system that does this on an ongoing basis is of the utmost importance to the industry.

Transit Green Jobs Training Partnership

January 2010 - June 2012 Read More

In January 2010, the US Department of Labor awarded a $5 million grant to the Center for a Transit Green Jobs Training Partnership under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).


  • Center Publications on Labor-Management PartnershipsVisit Site