What to Know
- Negotiations continue to avert a potential SEPTA strike.
- SEPTA's current contract expires at midnight on Monday and a walkout could begin at the start of service the next day.
- SEPTA released a contingency guide to help customers plan in case of a strike which would affect Philadelphia bus, trolley and subway lines.
Negotiators for the city's transit system, the nation's sixth-largest, and for 5,700 unionized workers failed to reach agreement on a new contract before a midnight Monday strike deadline. [[399291091, C]]
A strike by city bus, trolley and subway workers began Tuesday since no agreement with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority was reached. [[399268661, C]]
"At this hour, talks are ongoing," SEPTA Media Relations Director Carla Showell-Lee wrote in a released statement Monday. "We’ve heard from Governor Wolf, Mayor Kenney and other elected officials – they’re all encouraging us to remain at the bargaining table and get a deal done. SEPTA fully agrees with that approach, and we continue working toward that goal. At this time, discussions have been progressing, however, there are still many unresolved issues. We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached if both parties remain engaged at the bargaining table."
SEPTA said last week that transit officials hope agreement can be reached but urged all riders to come up with alternative plans should a strike occur, and the company released a contingency guide to help customers plan. [[398897641, C]]
A strike would affect Philadelphia bus, trolley and subway lines but not regional rail lines and service in areas outside the city. The city system's daily weekday ridership is about 800,000 trips, or about 400,000 people. More than 60,000 public, private and charter school students use the system to get to and from school. Monday night, the Philadelphia School District announced schools and offices would remain open Tuesday regardless of whether or not there is a SEPTA strike.
Union officials have said the two sides are divided by pension and health care issues but also have highlighted non-economic issues such as schedules, break time and driver fatigue. [[399301521, C]]
In 2014, union members ratified a two-year contract that averted a threatened walkout by bus drivers, subway and trolley operators, cashiers and mechanics. In 2009, a strike by SEPTA workers lasted six days.