Pierce Transit’s bus drivers voted Wednesday to ratify a new three-year contract with the agency.
The contract, which must be approved by the Pierce Transit board on Sept. 10, has no cost-of-living pay increases. It does preserve “step” increases for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 758 workers in their first few years of employment. About 10 percent of the 708 employees covered by the new contract are eligible for step increases.
The contract also calls for workers to pay higher co-pays and deductibles for health care coverage. Under the Premera plan that the majority of workers choose, deductibles would double to $500 a person and co-pays would increase from $15 to $20.
Unchanged would be employees’ contributions toward health-care premiums. Workers covered by the contract now pay $120 to $145 a month for the most popular medical and dental coverage, with Pierce Transit picking up the remainder of the $1,838 combined premium for those plans.
Pierce Transit officials say they expect the agency to pay more for health care coverage in 2013, but less than it might have paid if the union had not agreed to higher deductibles and co-pays.kim.bradford@ thenewstribune.com