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9/16/2008



Rail News: Labor

Pittsburgh port authority, ATU disagree on Fact Finder's contract recommendations


Last week, the Port Authority of Allegheny County accepted, but Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 rejected a Fact Finding report regarding a collective bargaining agreement that would cover 2,465 bus drivers, rail operators, mechanics and clerical workers.

Issued on Aug. 29, the report recommended increasing wages by 3 percent in each of the three years of the contract, phasing out the utilization of unused sick time toward years of service, eliminating a $500 monthly pension supplement, increasing employees' healthcare contributions (which would more than triple over the life of the agreement) and curtailing the post-retirement healthcare eligibility system by requiring workers to retire at an older age and complete more years of service.

The stipulations would have reduced healthcare, pension and legacy costs by nearly $88 million over the life of the contract, according to the authority.

However, the recommendations are unacceptable, ATU officials said. The union has proposed money-saving alternatives of its own — such as phasing in a trust fund to pay for long-term healthcare coss and amending the pension plan — but authority negotiators have not been willing to discuss them, they said.

"We are now back to square one with negotiations," said Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Steve Bland in a prepared statement.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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