OAKLAND -- AC Transit workers ratified a labor pact late Friday, ending speculation of a potential strike.
The nearly 2,000 bus drivers, mechanics, dispatchers and clerical workers had rejected two previous deals between union negotiators and the transit agency, reportedly over provisions that required them to pay more for their pensions and health insurance.
After Friday's vote was tallied with 567 union members voting in favor of ratification and 465 against, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192 President Yvonne Williams said she was glad members had finally approved a deal.
"It's a big relief to ensure that they're secure and that our riding public will get the service they are accustomed to and they deserve," she said.
The agreement includes a 9.5 percent wage increase phased in over the next three years of the contract and employees will make a flat monthly contribution of $120 per employee to their health care costs, AC Transit officials said.
Voting took place at multiple locations Friday. The AC Transit board of directors are expected to approve the deal next month.
"There is no reason to believe the board will turn it down," said AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson, who praised the deal as a collaborative effort.
"Obviously, we're happy about it," he said. "It certainly secures our service so that our riders don't have to worry about bus service being disrupted."
Staff writer Malaika Fraley contributed to this report.