December 27, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Pittsburg, PA – The Pittsburgh area’s about 2,200 bus drivers, mechanics, and first-line transit supervisors will get an 11.25% pay increase over the next four years, under a contract ratified by their union Dec. 18 and approved by the Port Authority of Allegheny County Dec. 20.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 members endorsed the deal by a 5-1 margin, said President/Business Agent Steve Palonis. The deal is much better than the one the union got in 2012, when it agreed to a two-year wage freeze in order to avert the threats of 560 layoffs and a 35% cut in service. “It locks in our health care for four years and it’s a pretty good wage package,” Palonis said. “We were facing draconian cuts the last time, but we worked together, and this time we both got what we needed.” The Port Authority will also increase its contribution to the workers’ pensions and uniform allowance, but workers who have families or who choose more extensive health-insurance coverage will probably have to pay more. Port Authority CEO Ellen McLean said the agency is in a stronger financial position than it was four years ago: It’s also ending its two-tier fare system Jan. 1, reducing the cost for longer rides by $1. Read more