Union Members Meet With Onorato Over Port Authority Cuts

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dozens of union members gathered at Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato’s office in downtown Pittsburgh today to voice their opinions on the latest round of Port Authority cuts.

The meeting started in Onorato’s office, but then moved to a nearby conference room because of the size of the group.

“Working class kids – their education is not going to be funded, their public schools aren’t going to be funded, their college isn’t going to be funded and you can’t get to work,” said one union member.

The meeting came less than a week after the Port Authority’s latest round of service cuts and the slashing of about 200 jobs. The dozens of union members who came out for the meeting told Onorato that they are bearing the burden of bad decision making.

The meeting was not organized by the transit union, instead by unions representing local service workers who they claim are the hardest hit by the route cuts.

“He needs to be a leader; he needs to not ask the hundreds of thousands of Pittsburghers who depend upon the mass transit system to get to work and to have a decent life; not ask them and the drivers who make this city go every day to bear the brunt of this crisis,” said Neal Bisno, the SEIU HealthCare Pennsylvania president. “He needs to stand up with us to his colleagues in Harrisburg and in Washington D.C. and make sure that this is about shared sacrifice.”

“They need to go back to the governor and explain to him this Act 44 is having a bad impact on the workers here and we’ve got to find other mechanisms to raise revenue so that we can operate as a society again. So people can go to work,” added Tony Helfer, of UFCW Local 23.

While Onorato said that the cuts could have been avoided if the transit union agreed to cut legacy costs and not just salary, both sides are headed back to the table. Still, that doesn’t mean the buses will be back any time soon.

“Beyond that, I don’t want to give false hope,” said Onorato. “No one knows what’s going to be said, but I think the public should know that there at least is a meeting schedule and we will be getting together.”

Port Authority
Office of the Allegheny County Executive
SEIU HealthCare Pennsylvania
UFCW Local 23

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  • Thomas J Duttine


  • DanTaylor

    the way you solve this problem is to call for a city strike .. stop the busses .. the trolleys .. call off from to work .. everyone who has a car dive into the city clog the streets and this pathetic road system like a sewer drain .. Democrats republicians tea party alike we all are the ones paying this price while this failed admimstration nest sits and turn a blind eye … bet ya 10 to 1 Old Danny Boy and Underhanded Luke would solve this problem real fast .. and let them and their office members give up the bucks .. STRIKE .. SHUT THE CITY DOWN …

  • Mike Samuels

    Union pay and benefits are way out of line-there greed killed them.$100,000.00 bus drivers with high school educations-too pathetic.

    • tim

      You do not understand what those employees have to give up to earn that kind of dough. They work tons of overtime and have no life.

      • dansuxs

        I completely understand what the drivers are doing. It’s called pension spiking. They work as many hours they can for the 2 years before they retire so they can inflate their month pension benefits.

      • tim

        Retirement is wages over the best 4 yrs of work. If it wasn’t for guys working overtime half the busses in the evening would not be there

      • Mike

        You do not deserver $100,000 for driving a bus … sorry. Period. I don’t care how much time of your life you sacrifice. It’s a scam left unchecked for way to many years and I applaud the recent efforts to align the financial situation to reality. What’s wrong with PAT is what’s wrong with America … one big financial mess driven by greed.

    • perspective

      I guess your right. They should have paid some college for a piece of paper and collected $20,000,000.00 a year plus stock options to be a ceo of some b.s. company. Mike please add some depth to your view.

    • Johnny

      Mike Samuels….are you on crack or something? 1300 drivers….name ONE that made 100,000.You sound like those idiots on the talk shows.

  • critter

    Should read”Union Meatheads

  • dansuxs

    This would be the first time someone has said what the objections were in the negotiations. It’s nice to hear that he is finally requesting cuts in legacy cost and not just salary.

    • FedUp

      dansuxs that’s BS about this being the first time someone has talked about legacy costs! Legacy costs have been part of the discussion from the very beginning. A combination of salary, health care contributions and retirement costs (current and previous), all from the VERY BEGINNING!

  • critter

    The union voted to bath every other day.

    • Crittersadik

      How many unions have you been in,a$$hat ??? If it weren’t for unions,we’d all be making $2.500/Hr. @ 80 Hrs./week

  • Level Green

    Every transit organization in the state should get the same amount of state funding per rider otherwise it’s not fair. Philly shouldn’t get any more than Pittsburgh and visa versa.

    If the Union wants more money to go towards their retiree’s health benefits that’s great but don’t go around claiming we need more money to keep this mess going. The laid off Union employees can thank their retiree brethren for their problems.

  • redrock100

    Riot? Nah. Go back to sleep i guess

  • ray

    hi marty. how does it feel to have aided hundreds of working men and women in losing their jobs???
    every day you speak ofm what iswrong in this city, yet you never speak of the real problem. talk show hosts who don’t do their homework very well and who are the best of friends with danny boy. your opening statement one day last week. today THE MAN is here, refering to danny boy.
    hopefully one day you will be losing your job also


    Maybe they can tax bar owners again even though they have nothing to do with transportation.
    Is the Port Authority a private sector business or not if not and the tax payer pays for their mismanagement we should also decide how it’s run not the union.
    This Neil and Tony in the story add stories about education and working class kids everything to spin the story away from the fact that Port Authority MISMANAGED THEIR BUSINESS AND THAT IS A FACT.

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