Transit union waits for details |

Transit union waits for details

Tom Fontaine

Leaders of Port Authority of Allegheny County’s largest labor union are taking a wait-and-see approach to county Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s appeal for $15 million in concessions to help avert deep transit cuts, an official said.

“They want to see what (specific offer) we’re going to bring back and if they can live with it,” said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 President Steve Palonis, who discussed Fitzgerald’s goals with his union’s 20-member executive board on Friday.

The ATU’s contract expired June 30. Members are working under terms of the agreement.

Fitzgerald, acting as unofficial leader in contract talks, said this week that he is seeking $10 million in management concessions and up to $35 million in state funding to help erase the agency’s $64 million deficit and prevent 35 percent service cuts planned for September.

It’s unclear from where remaining money would come. Fitzgerald said county money could be used, or Port Authority could try to generate revenue through advertising, selling naming rights or charging fees for spaces at park-and-ride lots.

“We’re looking at everything,” Fitzgerald said.

Despite Fitzgerald’s target for concessions, Gov. Tom Corbett’s office said there is no deal to provide more state money.

“There is no magic number. What the governor is looking for is a lot of work on the local level, in terms of cost-containment. No numbers have been agreed to. No final decisions have been made,” said Corbett spokeswoman Kelli Roberts.

The union hasn’t agreed to anything, either.

“There is no deal. Even if we do come up with $15 million (in concessions), it’s contingent on the governor coming up with a long-term, dedicated source of funding that will allow Port Authority to maintain current levels of manpower and service,” Palonis said.

A Corbett-appointed advisory commission last summer proposed ways to increase state transportation funding by $2.7 billion annually within five years. The proposals would generate up to $102.7 million a year for Port Authority by the fifth year. Corbett has not acted on the recommendations.

A negotiating session involving Port Authority, ATU, county and state officials is scheduled for July 16.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.