Commuter Train Engineers Reach Deal With SEPTA

After five years of negotiation and frustration from both sides, SEPTA and the Locomotive Engineers union have reached an agreement on a tentative contract.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 71 -- which represents 200 rail engineers -- and SEPTA announced Monday that they struck a retroactive five-year deal.
The agreement lasts through July 2015 and includes a 13.3 percent raise. The engineers also will receive a $1,250 signing bonus and compensation. The bonus includes an 11 ½ percent wage increase – 8 ½ percent immediately upon ratification of the contract and an additional 3 percent in April of 2015, according to SEPTA officials.

“This agreement keeps the trains rolling in Philadelphia,” said Steve Bruno, National Vice President of BLET, a division of the Teamsters union. “SEPTA has finally come to terms with the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board.” 

Engineers had been without a contract since 2010. Their one-day strike in June idled 13 lines that serve 60,000 commuters each weekday.

Employees ended their walkout after President Barack Obama appointed an emergency board to mediate the dispute over wages and other issues. The board’s intervention suspended the strike for 120 days. SEPTA officials requested another one-time 120-day extension last week, under the rules of the federal Railway Labor Act.

“We think it’s important to put this proposed pay raise before our members as soon as possible,” Bruno said.

The tentative agreement must be ratified by both BLET members and the SEPTA Board. BLET officials say results of the vote will be announced within the next 30 days.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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