The Port Authority Board of Directors voted this morning to ratify the 4-year collective bargaining agreement which was accepted on December 7th by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, representing 2300 workers.
Before the vote, CEO Steve Bland told the board that there will be cash savings because employee contributions to health care more than offset wage increases, and the agreement reduces by $92 million the long-term benefits expenses that have been building up since PAT’s inception 50 years ago:
Bland commended union leaders for their work at the negotiating table and in communicating with members. He says the 95% yes vote by union members is higher than he's never seen, even though workers accepted concessions. Bland says the agreement shows employees want PAT to be sustainable.
After the meeting adjourned, Bland discussed some issues that will be coming up in the near future: improving operating efficiency and making service more effective for customers; new fare structure and collection projects—he's hoping for a monetary commitment from the county in the next month or so.
Bland expects the county drink tax money withheld by County Executive Dan Onorato to be released in the next week or so, and he says future fares must rise to keep pace with inflation.