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Strike forces Philly commuter to find new ride

Philadelphia Transit Workers Go On Strike Over Contracts


By GEOFF MULVIHILL

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Workers, employers and travelers in the Philadelphia area have been forced to make contingency plans as a commuter rail strike adds to the region's summer transportation woes.

Four hundred workers at the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's regional rail system went on strike Saturday morning, shutting down 13 train lines that carry commuters to the suburbs and Philadelphia International Airport.

The strike began after negotiations between the transit agency and two unions failed to reach a new contract deal Friday. No further talks were scheduled.

Subways, trolleys and buses operated by SEPTA will continue to run.


Gov. Tom Corbett is counting on negotiators to reach an agreement and keep the trains running, spokesman Jay Pagni said. President Obama could also appoint a Presidential Emergency Board to intervene in the negotiations and prevent a strike for up to 240 days.

The strike will affect hospital, airport and retail workers, although the full effect would not be felt until Monday's rush hour.

The last regional rail strike, in 1983, lasted more than three months.

"I hope it doesn't go that far. I don't anticipate that it would, but I don't know how long it will take us to try to find a common ground - if there is any," said Stephen Bruno, vice president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

SEPTA said that its offer to keep a previously announced wage increase in effect during an extended two-week cooling off period was rejected by the unions. Bruno noted that the union has been working without a contract for four years and an extension "without any movement toward closure is really pointless."

Bruno said striking workers are seeking raises of at least 14.5 percent over five years - or about 3 percentage points more than SEPTA has offered.

The labor conflict came to a head this week after SEPTA announced it would impose a deal beginning Sunday. Terms include raising electrical workers' pay immediately by an average of about $3 per hour; the top wage rate for locomotive engineers would rise by $2.64 per hour.

SEPTA, meanwhile, is planning to have extra subway cars and trolleys in service.

The strike adds to commuting headaches in the region, where major construction projects are making it more difficult than usual to get around.

The lines carrying PATCO commuter trains between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey are being replaced over the Ben Franklin Bridge, affecting not only the train schedule but also car traffic on the busy bridge.

Emergency work on a bridge on Interstate 495 in Delaware is expected to keep a stretch of that thoroughfare closed at least through the summer, and is forcing additional traffic onto I-95. Additionally, work is scheduled to begin next week on I-95 just north of downtown Philadelphia.



PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Workers, employers and travelers in the Philadelphia area have been forced to make contingency plans as a commuter rail strike adds to the region's summer transportation woes.

Four hundred workers at the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's regional rail system went on strike Saturday morning, shutting down 13 train lines that carry commuters to the suburbs and Philadelphia International Airport.

The strike began after negotiations between the transit agency and two unions failed to reach a new contract deal Friday. No further talks were scheduled.

Subways, trolleys and buses operated by SEPTA will continue to run.

Gov. Tom Corbett is counting on negotiators to reach an agreement and keep the trains running, spokesman Jay Pagni said. President Obama could also appoint a Presidential Emergency Board to intervene in the negotiations and prevent a strike for up to 240 days.

The strike will affect hospital, airport and retail workers, although the full effect would not be felt until Monday's rush hour.

The last regional rail strike, in 1983, lasted more than three months.

"I hope it doesn't go that far. I don't anticipate that it would, but I don't know how long it will take us to try to find a common ground - if there is any," said Stephen Bruno, vice president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

SEPTA said that its offer to keep a previously announced wage increase in effect during an extended two-week cooling off period was rejected by the unions. Bruno noted that the union has been working without a contract for four years and an extension "without any movement toward closure is really pointless."

Bruno said striking workers are seeking raises of at least 14.5 percent over five years - or about 3 percentage points more than SEPTA has offered.

The labor conflict came to a head this week after SEPTA announced it would impose a deal beginning Sunday. Terms include raising electrical workers' pay immediately by an average of about $3 per hour; the top wage rate for locomotive engineers would rise by $2.64 per hour.

SEPTA, meanwhile, is planning to have extra subway cars and trolleys in service.

The strike adds to commuting headaches in the region, where major construction projects are making it more difficult than usual to get around.

The lines carrying PATCO commuter trains between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey are being replaced over the Ben Franklin Bridge, affecting not only the train schedule but also car traffic on the busy bridge.

Emergency work on a bridge on Interstate 495 in Delaware is expected to keep a stretch of that thoroughfare closed at least through the summer, and is forcing additional traffic onto I-95. Additionally, work is scheduled to begin next week on I-95 just north of downtown Philadelphia.

Join the discussion

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Frodo June 14 2014 at 8:11 AM

It's time to disband all unions. Their greed has all but wiped out manufacturing in this country, and they always want more. Way to go, you selfish SOB's. Greed - the American way.

Flag Reply +84 rate up
30 replies
mtg3480 June 14 2014 at 8:26 AM

There should be NO unions in the public sector. Period.

Flag Reply +69 rate up
12 replies
Intense Insanity June 14 2014 at 8:39 AM

Wow ... a $3.00 per hour raise ... who in the blue-hell gets a $3.00 per hour raise?! I remember a time being happy with getting just a quarter per hour raise!!

Fire every one of these greedy SOBs and hire new employees that would be more than happy to just have a job, let alone a $3.00 per hour raise!!

If they strike, nooo problem ... that's why we have police departments with guns ... to keep the peace!!

Flag Reply +56 rate up
14 replies
renner1234 June 14 2014 at 9:15 AM

Unions once again take the public Hoistage.

This is an act of terrorism.

Flag Reply +55 rate up
6 replies
risingmoo4 June 14 2014 at 8:15 AM

look my husband can use a job why not just clean house and hire all new for the people who has been out of work and no healthcare they would love to have their jobs.unions only put money in their pockets while your on strike they still get paid.wake up people!

Flag Reply +54 rate up
9 replies
fredyacht1 June 14 2014 at 9:19 AM

Good...now let's hire some independents that want to work and earn their pay!

Flag Reply +53 rate up
2 replies
amosesjr fredyacht1 June 14 2014 at 10:51 AM

And APPRECIATE a good job!

Flag Reply +30 rate up
1 reply
SgtJoeFriday amosesjr June 14 2014 at 8:28 PM

Yeah, enjoy your minimum wage job.

Flag +1 rate up
autounionbailout fredyacht1 June 14 2014 at 2:46 PM

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Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
SgtJoeFriday autounionbailout June 14 2014 at 8:32 PM

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Flag +2 rate up
pksqcamera June 14 2014 at 9:12 AM

fire them

Flag Reply +41 rate up
3 replies
cshae89546 June 14 2014 at 8:24 AM

SEPTA was created by the......Pennsylvania legislature.....on August 17, 1963, to coordinate.... government subsidieswhich are also know as tax payer dollars......to various transit and railroad companies in southeastern Pennsylvania. Sounds like these workers are striking against the people of Pennsylvania and it is a real good bet that a lot of those people make less and don't have near the benefits these transit workers do. It also sounds like another scheme a certian political party is fond of where....government subsidies/tax payer dollars.....fund welathy union bosses......in exchange for?

Flag Reply +32 rate up
2 replies
d1anaw cshae89546 June 14 2014 at 11:10 AM

Do you think they actually care about the people who pay their wages? They don't. It's all about the union and what they want. The more money the workers make, the more money the union executives rake in. And they don't care who suffers as a consequence.

Flag Reply +24 rate up
cruisedoc cshae89546 June 14 2014 at 5:27 PM

You got it.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
ftuna2u2 June 14 2014 at 11:19 AM

Remember Reagan and PATCO?
THAT'S how to deal with anyone who strikes!

Flag Reply +31 rate up
3 replies
mfg75123 June 14 2014 at 8:55 AM

give the people who do the jobs Americans don't want to do their jobs
that will taech them

Flag Reply +17 rate up
2 replies
stu0605 mfg75123 June 14 2014 at 9:50 AM

There are no jobs that Americans will not do. That is a lie that the Corporations made up so they could outsource your jobs and people would not complain. Why would we they were jobs we Americans would not do RIGHT?

Flag Reply +8 rate up
1 reply
twalsh4440 stu0605 June 14 2014 at 3:49 PM

you live in LA LA LAND

Flag +4 rate up
d1anaw mfg75123 June 14 2014 at 11:08 AM

No. there are jobs that Americans won't do. They've proven that time and time again. But this job? They've plenty of people who'd be willing to do it.

Flag Reply +10 rate up
4 replies
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