Philadelphia transit workers ratify new contract, averting potential strike on subway, buses

Philadelphia transit workers have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new two-year contract, averting a potential strike that could have halted city subways, buses and trolleys.

Member of the Transport Workers Union Local 234's three bargaining units voted in favor of the proposed contracts with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority on Friday.

The union represents about 5,000 bus drivers, subway and trolley operators, cashiers, and mechanics.

The contract includes 5 percent wage increases over two years but puts off decisions on thorny pension and health care issues.

Union president Willie Brown says negotiators will try for a more permanent solution to outstanding issues on the next contract.

SEPTA is the nation's sixth-largest transit operator. It serves Philadelphia and its surrounding counties and has annual ridership of about 337 million.