Friday, March 25, 2011

Union Offers Concessions to Prevent Transit Cuts

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 has offered to forego a 3% pay raise due to take effect in January, 2012 and to increase employee pension contributions by 10%, which President Pat McMahon says amounts to concessions worth $18.6 million if the Port Authority board will cancel the 15% cuts due to take effect Sunday.

The union also says it will engage in immediate discussions to change retiree health care to reduce legacy costs, with any savings used to reduce the additional 10% pension contributions.

Port Authority CEO Steve Bland says the county will consider the union's written proposal and convey a decision to union leadership by 5 pm today. If the answer is yes and union members ratify the agreement by 3 pm tomorrow, cuts would be canceled.

If the Board refuses the union’s offer, there are two other options put forth by Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato that would allow cancellation of cuts if accepted by the union. Union president Pat McMahon has said he doesn’t think membership would approve either of them because they are “too painful”.

When McMahon arrived at the Heinz 57 Center before the Port Authority board meeting this morning, he said Dan Onorato had just refused the union’s offer. McMahon says if the Port Authority board accepts the union’s offer, voting will start early tomorrow morning and continue until the 3 pm deadline.

If the Port Authority board refuses the offer of concessions, the union will have to decide whether to put Onorato’s options, details of which are unknown at this time, to a vote by its membership.

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