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Port Authority raises for nonunion workers rescinded

| Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, 11:25 a.m.

Almost before Port Authority of Allegheny County nonunion employees could celebrate the pay increases of 2.25 percent that took effect on Friday, the agency's interim director rescinded them Saturday.

“We will review all recent actions and will rescind pay increases for nonrepresented employees until our board of directors has had an opportunity to review them,” the authority said in a statement on Saturday.

CEO Steve Bland sent a memo on Jan. 25 saying he would move ahead with pay raises for 200 nonunion employees. But they took effect at a moment of transition for the authority: The Port Authority board voted on Friday to fire Bland.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald had said he “resisted” his recommendations to improve the system.

The increases would have brought nonunion employees in line with those represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, who are due to receive a 2.25 percent raise in July 2014 to end a 30-month wage freeze.

Port Authority police received a 2.5 percent increase on Friday retroactive to October. They had not had a raise since 2008.

Just because the raises for nonunion employees are off the table for now, doesn't mean that the employees never will get them.

Interim CEO Ellen McLean wants to make sure board members are informed about the raises and when employees would receive them, spokesman Jim Ritchie said.

“The concern and objection is about timing,” Ritchie said. “We want to make sure the board was fully aware of what the intent was and when the increases would go into effect.”

Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to outline a $1.9 billion transportation plan on Tuesday.

Bland and numerous corporate and government leaders repeatedly urged state lawmakers in recent years to boost transit funding.

Port Authority lost about $30 million a year in anticipated funding when the federal government denied a proposal to impose tolls on Interstate 80 under the state's Act 44 transportation funding plan.

Andrew Conte is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7835 or andrewconte@tribweb.com.

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