Despite threat of strike, SEPTA talks continue

As talks continue between SEPTA and the union representing transit workers within city limits, officials indicated early Friday evening they are optimistic a strike can be averted.

With pensions representing the final sticking point, officials said they are about 85 percent of the way to a contract agreement.

If a strike were called for Monday, it could have an impact on Tuesday’s election.

Democratic City Councilwoman Marian Tasco, leader of the 50th Ward in Northwest Philadelphia, said Friday union president William Brown should take into account how a strike might affect voting.

“I would encourage him and his union to be considerate of Election Day and the importance of Election Day,” she said. “If I’m spending all day Tuesday trying to get to my job or I can’t get there, I don’t know if they will really think about voting.”

And a strike could negatively affect Tom Wolf’s campaign, according to political consultant Larry Ceisler.

“Tom Wolf needs a good turnout out of Philadelphia and a healthy margin to win, so, certainly, if there is a SEPTA strike, and it negatively impacts turnout, it negatively impacts Tom Wolf’s chances of winning for governor,” he said.

Brown has said he will give commuters advance warning of a walkout.

About 5,000 members of the Transport Workers Union Local 234, which represents bus drivers, subway and trolley operators and mechanics, have been without a contract since the spring.

Regional rail would remain in service in the event of a strike.

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