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Denver's Transit Workers to End Strike

The union votes for a revised contract, and members may be back on the job by Monday.

April 08, 2006|From the Associated Press

DENVER — Striking bus drivers, train operators and mechanics Friday overwhelmingly approved a new contract with the city's mass transit agency, setting the stage to end the area's first transit strike in 24 years.

Union President Yvette Salazar said the revised offer was approved by 82% of workers who voted.

If the Regional Transportation District approves the deal today, transit workers will go back to work Monday.

"We think there may be a bit of a healing period, but we know that our workers have shown time and time again that they are very committed to their passengers and the public," said transit agency spokesman Scott Reed. "We believe this chapter will close soon."

The revised contract was finalized Wednesday during a session with a federal mediator.

"It is as well as can be expected for the economy that we're in today," said mechanic Gilbert G. Sisneros, 58, a transit agency employee for 30 years who voted in favor of the contract.

"I'll be glad to go back to work as soon as possible."

Under terms of the revised contract, workers would get a wage increase of $1.80 an hour over three years -- 50 cents an hour retroactive to March 1, with smaller increments in quarterly payments through Dec. 1, 2008.

The agency would increase its contribution to health insurance by an additional $20 a month and pay more into a health-andwelfare trust fund.

Nearly 1,750 members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001 walked off the job Monday after rejecting a proposal to raise wages $1.80 an hour over three years in 15-cent increments quarterly and to increase health-benefit contributions.

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