The SEPTA board today approved the contract that ended last month's six-day strike by bus drivers, subway and trolley operators and mechanics.

The board's approval clears the way for SEPTA to distribute $1,250 "signing bonus" checks to each of the 5,100 workers represented by Transport Workers Union Local 234.

The five-year contract provides a 2.5 percent raise in its second year, and a 3 percent raise in each of the final three years. It increases workers' contributions to the pension fund from the current 2 percent to 3 percent, and increases the maximum pension to $30,000 a year from the current $27,000 a year.

A similar agreement has been reached with 340 suburban bus drivers and trolley operators represented by United Transportation Union Local 1594, whose previous contract expired in April. The UTU employees, who work out of 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, did not strike last month.

Those "Red Arrow" workers will vote on the contract on Sunday, and, if the pact is ratified, the SEPTA board is expected to approve the UTU contract at its meeting next Thursday.

One board member, Thomas Jay Ellis, representing Montgomery County, voted against approving the TWU contract.

Ellis said he thought the contract was too generous in its first year, given the state of the economy and the no-raise contracts for Montgomery County workers.

"They will be putting more into their health insurance and they make even less than bus drivers," Ellis said after the meeting. "I had a concern, and the [Montgomery County] commissioners had a concern, about fairness."

The next labor issue for SEPTA will be its Regional Rail workers.

The contract with conductors, represented by United Transportation Union Local 61, expired in October. The contract with engineers, represented by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 71, expires July 14.

SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said negotiations are underway with the railroad unions.

A strike by rail workers is considered unlikely because, unlike other transit workers, railroad employees are constrained by the national Railway Labor Act from striking in most disputes.