(Harrisburg) -- A labor dispute between Capital Area Transit and its union is close to getting resolved until at least June - CAT's board has approved an interim contract.
The deal contains a two percent raise, retroactive to January, for all of CAT's union workers - from drivers to maintainance workers and I-T staff.
It would make CAT drivers some of the highest paid in the state, with a maximum rate of $25.30 per hour for fixed route drivers.
"The board members aren't just, while they're taxpaying members of the municipality, they're also representing Dauphin County, Cumberland County, and the city of Harrisburg. And they showed that leadership that we need. This is not just a bottomless pit of money, this is real. And these are important issues to the taxpayers of our region," says CAT General Manager Bill Jones.
In exchange for the raise, some work rules for absences would be tightened.
But the contract only runs until June 30th.
"Well we all know what the cost of living is. Did your electric bill go up this year? Did your gas bill go up? Did you pay more for gasoline in your car? So that means you need more money than you're accustomed to make your budget work. I don't care what the numbers say on paper, the reality is everybody needs to make more money," says Amalagamated Transit Union, Local 1436 leader John Keller
He says he plans on asking for additional raises in the next deal.
The union still needs to vote on the proposed agreement , which may not happen until a week from Sunday.
Jones says CAT may also hike fares to help pay for the raises, which will cost about 170-thousand dollars a year.
The interim contract does not resolve the binding arbitration requests between the union and CAT, which was dates back to December.
Capital Area Transit serves three million riders annually in Dauphin and Cumberland Counties.
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