Thursday, October 27, 2005


SEPTA appears to be desperately avoiding a strike if they're going to making this big of a consession offer to the unions, at least according to the Inquirer in a story that should appear in Thursday's editions...

The proposal calls for all members of the Transport Workers Union Local 234 to pay 5 percent of their medical plan premiums. That is down from SEPTA's initial demand of a 20 percent contribution.

According to SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney, the contribution would amount to $3 to $12 per week for each employee, depending on the health plan and the number of dependents covered.

Meaning that we, the riders and taxpayers, are still getting hit with a substantial bill...

TWU's 5,000 SEPTA employees, whose newest hires already pay part of their premiums, have thus far refused to budge on the issue, arguing that they have long sacrificed raises and other benefits to keep healthcare costs low.

The new contract offer also calls for annual raises during the next three years, totaling 9 percent.

SEPTA did not reveal many additional details, and that is the problem, said TWU spokesman Bob Bedard. For example, he said, the proposal calls for increases in limits on out-of-pocket expenses. A family's annual cap, he said, would rise from $4,000 to $9,000.

"One hospital stay and your whole raise is gone," Bedard said.

Maloney, however, called the offer generous, given SEPTA's financial problems and the rising cost of health care.

Compared to the private sector, it's probably too generous, particularly those who work and do not have health insurance.

"Even with these changes, SEPTA employees will continue to enjoy one of the best-compensated jobs in the region," Maloney said.

That's nothing compared to what some senior managers are making...

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