Engineers reach tentative 5-year deal with SEPTA to keep commuter trains rolling in Philly


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PHILADELPHIA — Engineers who operate commuter trains in the Philadelphia area reached a tentative contract with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, union and transit officials said Monday, meaning passengers can continue riding the rails without fear of another strike if the pact is accepted.

The retroactive five-year deal with SEPTA lasts through July and includes an 11.5 percent pay increase, according to separate statements from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the transit agency.

The engineers, who have not had a raise since their last contract expired in 2010, also will get a $1,250 "signing bonus" and a 35-cent-an-hour raise, which will increase their pay by 13.3 percent.

"This agreement keeps the trains rolling in Philadelphia," said Steve Bruno, national vice president of the union, which represents about 200 SEPTA employees.

Union members and SEPTA's board must still ratify the contract.

SEPTA's 13 suburban rail lines carry about 60,000 passengers each weekday between Philadelphia and cities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Engineers and electricians, who are represented by a separate union, staged a one-day strike in June but were forced back to work by the appointment of a presidential emergency board.

Recommendations by that board — essentially a type of federal mediation — led the electricians to settle with SEPTA several weeks ago.

Members of the Transport Workers Union, which represents 4,700 bus, trolley and subway operators in Philadelphia, have been working without a contract since March.

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