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Long IslandNassau

Bus workers union, Veolia reach deal

An undated file photo of passengers aboard the

An undated file photo of passengers aboard the N54 Long Island bus on the way to Amityville via Jerusalem Avenue. Credit: Steven Sunshine

The union representing 800 Long Island Bus workers reached a tentative deal Friday with Veolia Transportation, the company that starts running the Nassau County bus system on New Year's Day, officials said.

After about two weeks of serious negotiations, Transport Workers Union Local 252 finalized a deal with Veolia around 2:30 a.m., officials said.

Both sides declined to discuss specific terms of the deal, but the TWU said the contract addresses wages and provides for "quality health care," "on-the-job protections" and "job security."

"We're feeling good about building a positive relationship with Veolia from here on out," TWU Local 252 president Patricia Bowden said in a statement. "Our goal is to work together and stay focused on fair treatment for our members and great service for all the people who ride our buses."

Union leaders will present the contract to members on Saturday and recommend it for approval. A vote has not been scheduled, but officials said that Veolia will honor the terms of the tentative deal when it formally takes over the bus system at midnight Sunday.

The county bus system, which will be renamed the Nassau Inter-County Express, or NICE Bus, has been operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority since 1973. Nassau and the MTA split over a funding dispute.

Incoming NICE Bus chief executive Mike Setzer said the agreement was the last hurdle in the formation of his bus operations.

"The union has been very responsible and mature in the way they approached this," Setzer said. "They were very clear about their priorities, and we were very clear about ours. And we listened to each other pretty effectively."

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