Like fleet managers’ salaries, support staff salaries of have also been challenged by budget restrictions, leading to worries about morale and retention.

One fleet manager is hopeful that a union contract negotiation can help with the support staff salary freeze that began in 2010.

“Hourly workers are currently negotiating their first union contract,” he said. “Morale is understandably lower than normal, but I think it will improve when [the] contract is ratified.”

Another fleet manager, who also wished to remain anonymous, said lack of ­employee raises could lead to loss of talent.

“Some young mechanics with little seniority do not have a vested interest in staying with our organization since they are losing ground in [the] compensation growth they were counting on when they came to work for us. They will leave for a new opportunity that provides higher take-home pay, with or without a defined retirement benefit, so they can support their family.”

One fleet manager said he’s already seeing this at his fleet, which “is losing experienced employees to other entities with higher wages,” he said.

Keith Leech, fleet manager for the City of Sacramento, Calif., said most bargaining unit employees  at the City are now required to pay the employee share of the retirement contribution, while health care contributions have risen dramatically.

“I am hopeful that future labor negotiations will result in higher wages and benefits being paid to our technicians in exchange for reductions in paid time off and increased productivity standards,” he said.

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