After nearly a week of name-calling and threats by the union and "how can they not think this is a good deal" posturing by management, the deal makers in the SEPTA contract negotiations settled their differences.
Then they all piled into an elevator at the Bellevue – negotiation central – to ride down for the big announcement and the elevator got stuck. An awkward five minutes? Probably not given the worshipping-of-Willie moments that came a bit later.
"Willie Brown did his job," Governor Ed Rendell said early Monday morning, announcing that the six-day strike was over and services would be up and running for the morning rush.
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"Even when things broke down, I said Willie Brown did his job…it's the nature of the process. Collective bargaining is inherently an adversarial process and Willie was a strong adversary," Rendell said
"Everybody cooperated…most importantly, Willie Brown," said Congressman Bob Brady. "Everybody wanted it to happen. We just had to fine-tune some things and it happened. That's the story."
The only person who seemed less than thrilled was Willie Brown himself, who spent less than a minute at the podium -- just long enough to give full credit to Brady for getting the deal done.
"Brady came in and took a look at it and finally we got together and got an agreement," Brown said.
Maybe being publicly brushed aside by the Mayor (who Brown called "Little Caesar" last week) left Brown uncharacteristically quiet?
When the Governor asked Mayor Nutter during the news conference if he wanted to shake Willie's hand, Nutter said he'd get to that…commended Brown for his role, but emphasized, "This was a team effort and that's what it takes to get a deal done."
Nutter did make good on the handshake, but watch the body language on this one -- it looks like there's no love lost between Little Caesar and Big Willie.