Citi Bike operator agrees to let workers organize

A federal board cleared the way in August.

Citi Bike’s parent company Alta has agreed to recognize the Transport Workers Union Local 100 as the bike share employees’ collective bargaining representative, according to several sources.

The agreement from Alta’s board was inked Tuesday evening, sources said, after a federal labor board in August cleared the way for Citi Bike’s full-time and regular part-time and seasonal workers at three facilities — Sunset Park, the Farley Building in midtown and Delancey Street — to vote to be represented by the TWU, which is the transit workers’ union. These employees include bike dispatchers and mechanics, dock technicians and bike rebalancers.

“We’re basically underpaid for what we do,” said a front line Citi Bike employee who supported unionization and asked to have his name withheld. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, it could cost the company thousands of dollars.”

On top of better wages, employees will have leverage when it comes to negotiating working conditions.

“We’ll get the proper equipment and we’ll have proper procedures,” the employee said.

A spokeswoman for the National Labor Relations Board said Wednesday that a union election by Citi Bike workers scheduled for Thursday has been withdrawn.

Citi Bike has 249 employees and 96 of them, or 30% of the workers who will be represented by the TWU, are seasonal, according to the NLRB.

“TWU Local 100 views bike share workers as part of the urban transportation system, bringing mobility, healthy exercise, and environmental responsibility to the mix,” the union said.

Alta spokeswoman Leslie Carlson said the company looks forward to “working with TWU to continue to establish bike share as an important form of transit for New Yorkers.”

The decision comes in the midst of negotiations for a company affiliated with developer Related Cos. to take a controlling stake in Alta so that the bike share system can expand into new neighborhoods.

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