NEW YORK, Dec 28 (Reuters): The executive board of New York's Transport Workers Union voted to accept a new contract yesterday, the union's leader said, after a dispute that brought the city's subways and buses to a standstill last week.
The union's board "voted overwhelmingly to approve the proposed contract," Transport Workers Union Local 100 leader Roger Toussaint said at a televised news conference.
The new contract, which must be ratified by the union's 34,000 members, provides for wage increases of 3 per cent, 4 per cent and 3-1/2 per cent for the next three years, Toussaint said.
The union's dispute with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority over pay, pensions and health care came to a head last week as transit workers staged a three-day strike, causing traffic havoc in America's most populous city at the height of the holiday season and costing the economy more than $1 billion, according to city officials.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed the agreement. "This tentative contract provides the necessary cost-savings and productivity to keep the MTA solvent, mitigate fare increases and allow for vital investments in our transportation infrastructure," he said in a statement.
The new contract provides for a refund of member contributions to pensions over the past several years, plus medical coverage and health benefits coverage for retirees, Toussaint said. It also establishes that workers will pay 1.5 per cent of wages toward health benefit coverage.
The contract treats Martin Luther King Jr Day as a paid holiday each January and provides state disability insurance for workers hurt on the job, plus extra pay for workers assaulted in the line of duty.