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PAT Postpones Service Cuts and Layoffs

A 35-percent transit service cut has been postponed for a year because of union concessions and more funding from the state and Allegheny County.

The Port Authority's board of directors agreed Tuesday morning to postpone a 35-percent transit service reduction and layoffs for one year. The cuts were expected to take effect Sept. 2.

The board also ratified a four-year contract with the Local 85 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which calls for two years of wage freezes and increases of workers' contributions to the pension fund.

The union commitment provides $60 million in savings to the Port Authority over four years, or an average $15 million a year. The four-year deal will expire on June 30, 2016.

The contract includes:

  • Two-year wage freeze, resulting in a savings of $19.6 million.
  • Increase in employee pension contributions from 5.5 percent to 10.5 percent of wages, generating $26.8 million in savings.
  • Changes to vacation eligibility, providing another $11.3 million in savings.
  • Additionally, the union has agreed to reopen the agreement in 2014 to modify healthcare coverage and has committed to reducing spending on healthcare by $1.8 million.
  • Remaining savings of $300,000 will be achieved through the in-sourcing of certain maintenance functions at lower costs than contracting, by using existing forces and equipment.

Port Authority management also has stepped up by providing an additional $10 million in savings achieved by increasing pension contributions of non-represented employees from 4.5 percent to 10.5 percent, as well as departmental cost reductions.

Allegheny County also is providing an additional $4.5 million in funding and is doing so without raising taxes.

"These changes not only help preserve transit service today, they are a significant step toward protecting public transportation in Allegheny County for many years," said Port Authority CEO Steve Bland. "We're very thankful to the parties who have been committed to seeking a lasting solution to these issues."

The cuts would have scaled back service, slashed bus routes and .

This story originally appeared on Plum-Oakmont Patch

tom August 21, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Great to hear this. Steve Palonis and crew should be commended. I'm also glad the board voted to accept the Union's proposal.

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