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SEPTA transit cops to vote on contract

Transit officers returned to job midnight Saturday.

Though the terms of the new contract will not be publicly released until they pass a union ratification vote -- which is to be held either today or tomorrow -- SEPTA transit police and management have reached a tentative agreement, union spokesman Anthony Ingargiola said yesterday.

Talks wrapped up late Friday night and cops were back on duty by the midnight shift Saturday morning, Ingargiola said. Union members were expected to receive a written version of the new contract for consideration yesterday. Ingargiola said that the new terms have "a very good chance of passing" the vote, but they do not become official until both sides sign off on them.

Two hundred and nineteen members of the Fraternal Order of Transit Police walked off the job shortly before 2 p.m. on March 21, giving officials about a half an hour's notice in a move that drew criticism from Mayor Michael Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. The union had been working without a contract for a year.

Ingargiola previously said that, despite concessions made by the union regarding pensions and other areas, negotiations broke down during the nine-day strike over a $200,000 increase in "certification pay" that would cost SEPTA about $20 more per week.