Transit Officers Reach Agreement With SEPTA, Ending Strike - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Transit Officers Reach Agreement With SEPTA, Ending Strike

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    SEPTA Transit Police End Strike

    Transit police reached an agreement with SEPTA Tuesday and returned to work.

    (Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019)

    What to Know

    • SEPTA transit police officers are heading back to protecting commuters in the Philadelphia region.

    • The transit officers reached an agreement with SEPTA Tuesday and returned to work at 11 p.m.

    • A rep from the union told NBC10 their concerns over body cameras, wages and work rules have been met.

    SEPTA transit police officers are back protecting commuters in the Philadelphia region.

    The Fraternal Order of Transit Police — Lodge 109, which represents 178 officers sworn to protect riders and property on trains, buses and trolleys and at area stations, and SEPTA management reached a tentative agreement Tuesday on a new, five-year contract. The officers returned to work at 11 p.m.

    "Obviously we're excited about getting back to work," Union Vice President Troy Parham said. "Public safety was always a concern and something our officers work hard to make an everyday reality."

    A rep from the union told NBC10 their concerns over body cameras, wages and work rules have been met. Further details on the tentative contract will be announced on a later date.

    The strike, which saw SEPTA officers walking picket lines rather than concourses and station platforms, lasted six days.

    SEPTA management had a contingency plan in place during the work stoppage, Andrew Busch, SEPTA's chief spokesman, said. Busch said 49 police supervisors worked 12-hour shifts patrolling systemwide. Police in Philadelphia and other towns that SEPTA serves also stepped up patrols, he added.

    The first morning commute with SEPTA officers off the job, however, was marred by deadly a stabbing on the Broad Street Line concourse in Center City. 

    The union said its members worked without a contract for more than a year before walking off the job last Wednesday.

    Omari Bervine, president of FOP Lodge 109, said low wages leading to turnover in the ranks led to the strike.

    “Over the past couple of years we have lost nearly 50 officers, which is approximately 20 percent of our workforce to better paying jobs,” Bervine said.

    The union claims that public safety was being put at risk.

    “This has left a dangerous void in our deployment, making the transit system significantly less safe, with less officers available to respond to calls for service,” Bervine said. “Meanwhile, the disparity in pay between our officers and their immediate supervisors and other management level employees has ballooned to over $30,000, which includes wage increases and bonuses as our pay has remained stagnant for years.”

    NBC10 will update this story with details of the new contract agreement.