Union, SEPTA Come to Tentative Agreement

Both parties will meet on Saturday

Gov. Ed Rendell gave Philadelphia a bit of good news during a press conference at 11 p.m. on Friday regarding the SEPTA strike.

For now, the strike's still on, but the Transport Workers Union and SEPTA have come to a tentative agreement and the Governor is hopeful that SEPTA will be up and running as early as tomorrow afternoon.

"Both negotiating teams have tentatively agreed on a proposal that I believe is a fair one,” said Gov. Rendell.

The union board will meet Saturday at noon with the offer in hand and, if executives agree to the terms, that would mean the end of the five-day strike.

An annoucement on the potential agreement will be made at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

But the possible end to the strike isn't the only good news Gov. Rendell shared with the public.

“The good news is, for the riding public and the taxpayers, there’s virtually no increase cost in this proposal.”

With only a $200,000 a year increase, riders will barely notice the change in fares.

This latest news came after the union notified SEPTA of an offer on Friday around 5 p.m. claiming that they are willing to end the citywide transit strike if the transportation authority agrees to binding arbitration on wages and pension.

"It would give my membership a little ease that their pension is being taken care of," said Union President Willie Brown.

"I think that the most important thing, and I think all parties including SEPTA, wants to end this thing, end this strike," said City Council member Curtis Jones.

All signs were pointing up early Friday morning after Rendell and Brady worked until 2 a.m. trying to broker a deal with TWU Local 234.

"This is a good contract for the union and it's also a good contract for SEPTA because it would allow labor peace for five years," Rendell said leaving the negotiations.

The two felt "cautiously optimistic" about the latest round of talks and had hoped to have SEPTA back up and running Friday afternoon.

But that optimism seemed to fade by Friday afternoon as a union spokesperson said a deal would not be reached Friday -- stretching the strike into a fifth day.

The last SEPTA strike lasted seven days back in 2005 and a 1998 strike went for 40 days.

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