Strike Averted as SEPTA, Workers Union Reach Tentative Deal

Under the agreement, Local 234 members would receive 3% wage increases in each year of the two-year agreement

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Members of SEPTA’s largest workers union will not go on strike after reaching a tentative agreement on a new contract with the transit agency.

The proposed two-year contract provides raises, pandemic-related hazard bonuses and parental leave for some 5,000 Transit Union Workers Local 234 members. A vote to ratify the deal is scheduled for Nov. 5.

“I am very pleased that we were able to come to terms without a strike,” Local 234 President Willie Brown said in a written statement announcing the new agreement. “Our members are essential workers who move Philadelphia and who have risked their lives putting their own families at risk during this pandemic.”

Under the agreement, Local 234 members would receive 3% wage increases in each year of the two-year agreement. They would also receive a pandemic hazard bonus of $1 for each hour worked between March 15, 2020 and March 15, 2021, which would max out at $2,200, the union said.

Additionally, parents would have two weeks of parental leave at the birth or adoption of a child, and pregnant people would receive benefits following childbirth. Previously, pregnant people had to exhaust all sick leave before qualifying for unpaid pregnancy leave, according to the union.

Workers will also get Juneteenth as a paid holiday.

There was no mention of the safety enhancements that the union previously called for. Brown earlier said he wanted to see more police officers across the SEPTA system to protect both employees and riders.

Negotiations over a new contract had raised the possibility of a worker strike as early as Monday, a move that would have shut down buses, subways and trolleys. However, members on both sides this week signaled a strike would be a avoided after indicating talks were going well.

“We are pleased to reach an agreement with union leadership on a contract that is fair to our employees and financially responsible for SEPTA,” SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale Deon Sr. said in a separate news release.

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