Philadelphia's striking transit union says it “can't get anywhere” during negotiations because management is pinning its hopes on getting a court injunction to end the strike.
Transport Workers Union local president Willie Brown Saturday night accused SEPTA of relying on the courts to end the strike, which began Tuesday, instead of bargaining on pensions and other issues.
“We can’t get anywhere at the bargaining table because SEPTA has pinned their hopes on getting an injunction to end the strike,” Brown wrote in a released statement. “SEPTA Board Chairman Pat Deon’s plan all along has been to rely on the courts rather than negotiations. He is the one using the election as leverage. This is not the way to end a strike or get an agreement. It’s foolhardy to launch a legal Hail Mary pass designed to make SEPTA’s high-priced lawyers richer and circumvent the collective bargaining process.”
Brown called on management to stop stalling.
“We need to finish bargaining on the pension fund in particular,” Brown wrote. “We have nearly 5,000 workers in our union, SEPTA employs roughly 1,700 managers, yet they put more money into the management plan than frontline workers get. On top of that last year SEPTA secretly gave each management retiree a $6,000 annual increase in their pension checks. Managers have both a defined benefit pension and a generous match to a 401k plan.”
SEPTA spokeswoman Carla Showell Lee responded to Brown’s statement.
“SEPTA has been at the table willing to negotiate with the TWU all day,” she said. “TWU was due to present a proposal at 1 p.m. Saturday. It was not presented to SEPTA until 5 p.m.”
Lee also claimed what the TWU is asking for in their latest proposal “is not affordable.”
“SEPTA is committed in remaining at the table and getting a contract signed well in advance of the election,” she said.
SEPTA late Friday filed a request for a court injunction, saying the strike is threatening public safety and will interfere with Election Day voting. A judge delayed a ruling and will take additional testimony on Monday.
The union's 4,700 workers walked off the job after midnight Monday, shutting down transit service that provides about 900,000 rides a day.
SEPTA SERVICES THAT ARE STILL RUNNING DURING STRIKE
- Regional Rail
- Norristown High Speed Line
- Suburban Bus, Trolley Routes 101 & 102
- LUCY (Loop through University City), Route 310 (Horsham Breeze), Routes 204, 205 and Cornwells Heights Parking Shuttle
- CCT Connect: Regular Service will operate for registered ADA and Shared Ride customers. There may be some delays due to increased demand and local street traffic.
SEPTA SERVICES THAT ARE NOT RUNNING DURING STRIKE
- City Bus Routes (Including Route 78, Cornwells Heights to Center City Express)
- Market Frankford Line
- Broad Street & Broad Ridge Spur Lines
- Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34, and 36
NON-SEPTA SERVICES FOR STUDENTS AND VISITORS
Temple University student Victor Lourng created a map of bus routes that will run and provide services for students, hotel guests and some workers during the strike.
UPENN'S SEPTA STRIKE CONTINGENCY PLAN
The University of Pennsylvania partnered with Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to provide complimentary transit services to all employees of these institutions and organizations at Penn. CLICK HERE for more information.
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY'S SEPTA STRIKE CONTINGENCY PLAN
Temple University released contingency plans to help members of the university community during the strike. CLICK HERE to learn more.
UBER EXPANDS UBERPOOL COVERAGE
Uber announced they would expand its uberPOOL coverage throughout the greater Philadelphia area during the strike. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Lyft announced prices will remain low for passengers during the strike. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Zipcar announced they would discount its cars in Philadelphia with $5 hourly reservations available on more than 100 zipcars near SEPTA stops for those who are without transportation. CLICK HERE to learn more.
PPA DISCOUNTS, RELAXED ENFORCEMENT