- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 28, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — The executive board for the city’s transit workers union approved a tentative new contract late last night, five days after it ended a paralyzing bus and subway strike that stranded millions of commuters.

The tentative contract, announced by union President Roger Toussaint, would give workers a 10.9 percent pay raise over three years and require them to contribute to their health care plans. It still must be approved by 33,700 members of the Transport Workers Union.

Mr. Toussaint said the contract provided “for a host of other provisions that will go a long way to help in improving the relations” between transit workers and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The deal establishes a “greater degree of respect and appreciation for the sacrifices that our members undertake in this city every single day, moving over 7 million riders every day and waking up every morning, 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning, to make sure that this city moves,” he said.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg applauded both sides for hammering out the agreement and thanked New Yorkers “for their patience and cooperation during a very difficult three days.”

The 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,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

The union’s contract expired Dec. 16. Union leaders called the strike Dec. 20 when talks became deadlocked over wages, pension and health care benefits. Transit workers returned to work without a contract three days later.

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