Philadelphia Transit Union Gets 10.5-Percent Pay Increases, Higher Pension Payments in New SEPTA Deal

The union representing 4,700 transit workers in Philadelphia has revealed details of a tentative five-year agreement that ended a weeklong transit strike on Monday.

A newsletter posted to the TWU Local 234 website says members would receive 10.5 percent raises over the next five years under the agreement. The increase will cost about $82 million more and bring the total amount of money spent of SEPTA union workers' wages to almost $1.73 billion over the length of the deal.

Their health insurance payments would increase from 1 percent of their pay to 2.5 percent by 2019 and members would see a 12.8 percent to 15.2 percent increase in pension payments, depending on their length of employment.

The deal will also cost SEPTA another $64 million in pension payments over the next five years as the union receives pension percentage increases of up to 15.2 percent, said the union.

No changes to break times or time between shifts for vehicle operators were included.

The policy for employees who lose their licenses, however, changes significantly.

"Many Local 234 members were losing their jobs as a result of license suspensions lasting more than 180 days. The old contract provided protection for only 6 months, however, the new agreement provides protection for 18 months. Once the license is restored, the employee can return to his/her former job without the loss of seniority," said the union newsletter.

Employees also now have five days instead of three days to get a doctor's note when sick.

Members will vote on the deal next week.

SEPTA has said money in its preexisting 10-year budget plan would cover the new contract.

The union declined to comment to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which initially reported the details of the deal. A SEPTA spokesman told NBC10 the agency couldn't comment on the deal until after ratification.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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