NEW YORK – The executive board for the city's transit workers union approved a tentative new contract late Tuesday, 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.
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 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," 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.
The shutdown of the nation's largest public transit system forced millions of daily subway and bus riders to walk, bike or squeeze aboard packed commuter train lines in the freezing cold to get around the city at the height of the holiday shopping season.
The mayor said over the weekend that businesses lost $1 billion in revenue over the strike and that the city lost tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue and overtime expenses.