Saturday, April 2, 2011

More Talks, No Deal

Negotiations have resumed between officials of the transit workers union, the Port Authority and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato in an attempt to eliminate a $30 million deficit and restore the 15% service cuts that took effect March 27. Patrick McMahon, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, says they offered $18.6 million in wage concessions a week ago. But Onorato rejected the offer saying it did not address legacy costs for healthcare and pensions. Onorato says PAT and the county both spend $69 million a year on healthcare and the county has more than twice as many active employees as the transit agency. SEPTA, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority, is three and a half time the size of PAT but it spends $8 million on post-retirement healthcare while PAT spends $32 million. McMahon issued a statement following Friday's talks saying he shares Onorato’s concern about finding long-term transit funding solutions to our transit funding problems, especially mitigating the impact of retiree health care costs. McMahon says they found significant areas of agreement but have very different opinions on what's in the best interest of the transit, riders and workers. "We favor an approach that allows us to work on resolving the short-term crisis created by the March 27th cuts with short term solutions while simultaneously and vigorously working toward longer term resolutions that address legacy costs."

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