It wasn’t everything they wanted in a new contract, but SEPTA’s largest union agreed to a proposed contract they could live with and that put an end to a crippling six-day strike early Monday morning.
In the end, union officials agreed to the same contract they backed away from Saturday night with a few minor changes. SEPTA management agreed to make two of those changes to reach settlement: a minor change in the National Healthcare language and agreed to pay for three years of dental coverage.
Other details in the proposed contract included:
- $1,250 signing bonus with a five-year contract
- 11.5 percent wage hike over five years
- 2.5 percent raise in Year 2 and a 3 percent raise in each of the following three years; no increase in the first year
- a gradual increase in employee contribution to their pension fund from 1.5 percent to 3 percent
- no change in employee contributions to the medical plan
Governor Ed Rendell and U.S. Rep Bob Brady announced a tentative agreement late Friday, but it fell apart Saturday over the union's call for an independent audit of the pension fund and assurance that members would not be affected if the company's costs increased with possible passage of a national health reform plan.
The governor said changes to the language regarding national health care and another change on dental benefits cleared the way for a deal.
On the union's call for a forensic audit of pension funds, the governor said the union's two members on the pension fund's advisory board could call for such an audit ``so that became a non-issue.''
Many blamed Local 234 president Willie Brown for the collapse of a proposed deal, but later praised him for doing his job.
“Willie Brown did his job well for his members. That’s the nature of the collective bargaining process,” said Rendell.
Brown said a ratification vote will likely be held in about a week and a half, and he expects members to approve the contract.