When the editorial pages of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review agree on an important public policy issue, the first thing to do is look out the window to see if you can glimpse some flying pigs.

But you also should pay attention, because any idea that has enough merit to appeal to two groups approaching the world from completely different perspectives is worthy of serious consideration. And what do these two ideological cold warriors agree on?

That the contract proposal made by fact-finder Jane Rigler — which offers raises to workers now but limits the extravagant pension and healthcare benefits that those workers would receive when they retire — is fair to workers and addresses the Port Authority’s problems.

“Sounds like the real world to us,” the Tribune-Review said in praising the proposal.

Rigler’s recommendation “didn’t give either side all that it wanted but offered gains to both parties, on the way to securing the transit system’s long-term future,” the PG said in this morning’s editorial.

But Pat McMahon and the transit union leadership won’t even let their members decide for themselves whether it’s a good deal.

The PG editorial sums it up:

For too long, Port Authority and Allegheny County elected officials have reached agreement upon agreement with Local 85 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, buying labor peace in a labor town, only to lead to a day of reckoning for the long-term sustainability of this essential public service. That day is now.

Posted by: Ken Zapinski