About 2,300 members of the Amalgamated Transit Union will vote on Sunday on a tentative contract agreement with Pittsburgh Regional Transit.

ATU Local 85 has scheduled voting at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on the tentative agreement. Neither the union nor the agency were available Friday to comment or provide details of the proposed deal.

The union and the agency have been trying to negotiate a new contract since earlier this year. The previous two-year deal, which expired June 30, granted raises of 5.5%.

The talks have been particularly contentious this time around after the agency ordered all employees to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. More than 400 members faced disciplinary hearings when they initially refused to be vaccinated, and 80 who wouldn’t change their minds, including 48 operators, were fired.

The union is challenging those firings through grievance proceedings and arbitration.

The dismissals exacerbated the agency’s chronic problem of not having enough drivers, leading to significant overtime and a reduction in service by the agency. The agency’s CEO, Katharine Eagan Kelleman, said last month that overtime had reached its “tipping point” and the agency would have to reduce service so it could meet reliability standards and reduce missed trips because drivers aren’t available.

At that time, Ross Nicotero, president and business agent for the union, declined to comment on the amount of overtime because that was part of the continuing contract talks.

The union represents two groups — operators, mechanics and maintenance workers in one and a smaller group of front-line supervisors. 

Ed Blazina

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at eblazina@unionprogress.com.

Ed Blazina

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at eblazina@unionprogress.com.