PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Friday deal struck between SEPTA and TWU Local 234 does two things: puts a new two-year contract on the table, and prevents a major walkout of around 5,000 employees. The tentative agreement will be ratified by the union on Nov. 5.
With the current contract expiring Sunday, Oct. 31, the union went to SEPTA in July 2021 with a set of demands ranging from pay increases to pandemic reimbursements to maternity leave. These became sticking points, but now the possible benefits for workers are outlined in the plan.READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: Viewing, Funeral Services To Be Held For Philadelphia Firefighter Lt. Sean Williamson
TWU members wanted hazard pay for working during the COVID pandemic, and the deal gets them that; Local 234 members will get an extra $1 for every hour worked between March 15, 2020 and March 15, 2021. That can be for up to $2,000.
The proposed contract also increases pay each year of the two-year deal, with wages going up three percent.
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Maternity leave – for both men and women – was a driving factor in negotiations. This plan will give workers two weeks of parental leave for birth or adoption. There are also maternity leave benefits for women, which will be different than sick leave. Prior to this tentative deal, a pregnant employee had to use all their sick leave before qualifying for unpaid leave.
JUNETEENTH HOLIDAY PAY
Juneteenth will now be a paid holiday for workers with this new deal. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney declared Juneteenth as an official city holiday this past June.
Some of the other requests made by union members were not mentioned in the official release about the deal. Neither TWU Local 234 nor SEPTA mentioned the safety concerns brought to the table. Sources told CBS3 it turned out to not be a bargaining issue, but future announcements on increasing safety for both riders and employees are expected.MORE NEWS: Teen Girl Injured After Struck By Car In North Philadelphia
The deal goes into effect after ratification by the union and approval by the SEPTA Board.