If it isn’t the schools on the brink of shutting down, it’s the transportation system. Looks like a SEPTA strike is looming and could happen as early as next week. If this does happen, expect to see the city grinding to a halt as trains, buses, and trolleys would no longer be operating
Willie Brown who is the President of TWU Local 234 (Transport Workers Union) has stated that 5,000 SEPTA workers are prepared to walk off the job if the union and SEPTA do not see eye to eye regarding a new contract. The workers have apparently been working without a contract since last spring when their last contract lapsed. One of the biggest line items that the two entities cannot agree upon is the pension program. It seems as though the union’s biggest gripe is that they contribute 3.5% towards retirement, which is about three times as much of what managerial and executive workers pay. Although Mr. Brown has publicly stated that the union would give a 24 hour notice before a strike occurs, it gives little comfort to the hundreds of thousands who rely on public transportation on a daily basis.
The last SEPTA strike which occurred back in 2009 lasted 6 days and the effects of the stoppage were definitely felt. TWU Local 234 has repeatedly stated that striking isn’t something they really want to do but it might be a necessity when dealing with the 6th largest rapid transit in the country. The final decision to strike will come this Friday. Mr. Brown has stated if SEPTA is willing to come to the table with a plan to make pension contributions more equitable the union is all ears.
We will update you as this story progresses.