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  1. #1 Onorato: No deal better than bad deal with Port Authority workers 
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    Tuesday, March 29, 2011
    By Jon Schmitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato said there was still a chance to reverse Port Authority service cuts and layoffs that took effect on Sunday if the transit workers union would accept one of his two cost-cutting proposals.

    Mr. Onorato went public with details of his proposals on Monday after declining to comment on them during a last-ditch effort that fell apart on Friday to avert the cuts.

    The proposals, which were reported in Saturday's Post-Gazette, each would require about $20 million in union givebacks. They included a wage freeze, health care and pension concessions and overtime and work rules changes.

    Union leaders rejected both, calling them too painful. They offered their own plan to give back an estimated $16 million to $18 million in wage cuts. An analysis by the Port Authority put the savings at $14.7 million.

    Mr. Onorato Monday said he turned that down as "not realistic," explaining it would do nothing to address ballooning health care and retiree costs that he predicted would bankrupt the authority by June 2012.

    "I'm better off doing no deal than a bad deal," he said in a meeting with Post-Gazette editors.

    Joseph Pass Sr., attorney for Local 85, Amalgamated Transit Union, responded later, saying Mr. Onorato had never demanded that health care reform be part of the deal. He said Mr. Onorato had told the union "just give me $20 million [in concessions]. I don't care how you get it."

    Both of Mr. Onorato's proposals would have frozen wages and restricted overtime payments to hours in excess of 40 per week. The current contract allows workers to collect overtime for work in excess of eight hours per day, even if they don't work 40 hours for the week.

    One proposal would have increased employee pension contributions from the current 4.5 percent to 11.5 percent of total compensation. The other called for an increase to 13.875 percent.

    One proposal changed workers' health care contributions from the current 3 percent of income to 20 percent of the premium cost, with employees paying the full cost of any upgrades from base coverage. The other did not change employee contributions but would have stripped many current workers of post-retirement health coverage.

    Both proposals called for reining in the drivers' right to pick routes based on seniority. Instead of four "picks" per year, there would be two.

    Mr. Onorato acknowledged that the proposals were "tough" but said he was disappointed neither was put to a union vote. "The drivers never got to see it. They have no idea what's in there," he said.

    He said the authority currently is paying $31.5 million a year for health care for 3,300 retirees -- more than the 2,700 active employees who get it. By contrast, the much bigger SEPTA transit agency in Philadelphia spends $8 million, he said. Neither of his proposals would have eliminated health care for current retirees, but Mr. Onorato said the authority needs to do something to start bringing down its costs. "If it doesn't get dealt with, Port Authority will go bankrupt. It's over with," he said.

    Mr. Onorato also released copies of an email from his chief of staff to the union on Friday offering to delay the service cuts and layoffs by seven days if union president Patrick McMahon signed off on one of the two proposals and agreed to recommend approval in a vote by the rank-and-file.

    The union's proposal offered an immediate 10 percent wage cut and to forgo a 3 percent raise scheduled for January. Union officials valued the givebacks at $16 million to $18 million but Mr. Onorato said various conditions attached to the offer made it worth far less.

    He said the union demanded a "sunset" provision that would have restored the lost wages as part of the baseline for the next contract talks in 2012. There were other scenarios in which some of the wage money would have been restored before then.

    Port Authority officials had an additional concern -- the proposal said the concessions would remain in effect "so long as the status quo is maintained until June 30, 2012," which they interpreted as barring any changes to the transit system, small or large.

    Mr. Onorato said if the union accepted one of his offers, the county and the Port Authority would pitch in an additional $10 million through increased county aid and another fare increase. That would be enough to keep service at the levels that existed before Sunday, at least through June 2012.

    While Mr. Onorato was willing to consider raising the county subsidy -- if workers agree to concessions -- spokesman Kevin Evanto said he would not support a stand-alone proposal from county council President Jim Burn to allocate an additional $5 million to the Port Authority.

    Mr. Burn's measure would require the transit agency's board to reverse the 15 percent service cutbacks. Council will discuss the resolution to reopen the county budget during a special meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the courthouse.

    Mr. Burn predicted that he and Mr. Onorato would be able to work out their differences on Port Authority funding after they meet face to face in the next few days.

    If Mr. Onorato's opposition to Mr. Burn's resolution stands, it would appear to be an insurmountable obstacle. Under the county charter, support of two-thirds of council members and the approval of the county executive are needed to make budget changes, Mr. Evanto said.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11088/1135460-147.stm
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  2. #2  
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    These guys are able to retire at 45 and collect full pension with full healthcare from the day they retire. AND most of them when they retire from driving move into other jobs with the port authority so that they are collecting a pension and a salary at the same time. A friend of mine - her dad was a driver who retired and then moved into an office job and did just that - collected a pension and a salary at the same time. THEN - on top of that - they fenangle their hours so that none of them works more than 40 hours a week - but they all get around 20 hours of OT a week because their OT is based on the 8 hour day rather than the 40 hour week. AND - someone at the union has been calling Onorato's home and making threats. What's sooo very funny is that Dan is a DEMOCRAT and these same driver endorsed him in his run for governor less than a year ago! :D
    Last edited by PoliCon; 03-31-2011 at 09:19 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoliCon View Post
    These guys are able to retire at 45 and collect full pension with full healthcare from the day they retire. AND most of them when they retire from driving move into other jobs with the port authority so that they are collecting a pension and a salary at the same time. A friend of mine - her dad was a driver who retired and then moved into an office job and did just that - collected a pension and a salary at the same time. THEN - on top of that - they fenangle their hours so that none of them works more than 40 hours a week - but they all get around 20 hours of OT a week because their OT is based on the 8 hour day rather than the 40 hour week. AND - someone at the union has been calling Onorato's home and making threats. What's sooo very funny is that Dan is a DEMOCRAT and these same driver enforced him in his run for governor less than a year ago! :D
    Christie put the kaibash on something similar here in NJ. It used to be that you can work to retirement, then turn around and get another job in the state. Now, if you are, say, a corrections officer and retire after 25, you can't get any job in any government(city, state, federal) and collect your pension. You can get a job in the private sector all you want and collect, but not another job in the public sector.

    Oh, and didn't Onorato run for governor?
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJCardFan View Post
    Christie put the kaibash on something similar here in NJ. It used to be that you can work to retirement, then turn around and get another job in the state. Now, if you are, say, a corrections officer and retire after 25, you can't get any job in any government(city, state, federal) and collect your pension. You can get a job in the private sector all you want and collect, but not another job in the public sector.

    Oh, and didn't Onorato run for governor?

    go back and read my WHOLE post not just the first couple of lines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoliCon View Post
    go back and read my WHOLE post not just the first couple of lines.
    Fuck a duck dick stain. How does my post differ from the post of yours I quoted? You know, you're becoming the biggest asshole on these forums.
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJCardFan View Post
    Fuck a duck dick stain. How does my post differ from the post of yours I quoted? You know, you're becoming the biggest asshole on these forums.
    you asked if Onorato had ran for governor and in my post that you clearly did not read all the way through I said:

    What's sooo very funny is that Dan is a DEMOCRAT and these same driver endorsed him in his run for governor less than a year ago!
    and you quoted that statement in the post you made where you asked about his run for governor. It's okay. You're not the first person to stop reading a post half way through. But most people are not total fuckwads about being called on it in a friendly way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJCardFan View Post
    Fuck a duck dick stain. How does my post differ from the post of yours I quoted? You know, you're becoming the biggest asshole on these forums.
    You would think that it would be easier to answer the question than behave like a dickhead, but if his goal is to be a dickhead then he has achieved his desired ends.
    "I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid."

    G. K. Chesterton
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBIGuy View Post
    You would think that it would be easier to answer the question than behave like a dickhead, but if his goal is to be a dickhead then he has achieved his desired ends.
    He's just pissed that the Flyers spanked the Penguins the other night.
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  9. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBIGuy View Post
    You would think that it would be easier to answer the question than behave like a dickhead, but if his goal is to be a dickhead then he has achieved his desired ends.
    The question he asked was answered in the post he quoted when he asked the question - and I'm a dickhead?
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJCardFan View Post
    He's just pissed that the Flyers spanked the Penguins the other night.
    Wait til Crosby is back on the ice. I'd like to see the fliers do as well with as many injured players as the penguins have right now.
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