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Tentative Deal Reached in Minneapolis Busses

April 13, 2004

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ The city transit agency and the bus drivers’ union reached a tentative contract agreement early Tuesday aimed at ending a strike that has stretched to nearly six weeks, a spokesman said.

Terms of the settlement were to be announced later in the morning by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Metropolitan Council chief Peter Bell and Transit Union leader Ron Lloyd. The Metropolitan Council operates the bus service.

Contract talks resumed at 2 p.m. Monday, and a deal wasn’t reached until around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons.

Drivers, mechanics and other members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 walked off the job March 4. The sides had been split mainly over proposed changes to retiree health benefits, but also had sparred over wages.

The strike left 75,000 daily riders in Minneapolis and St. Paul without buses.

The governor had met privately with leaders of both sides last week, and then joined the talks late Monday.

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