SEPTA downplays fears of transit strike

SEPTA officials are  downplaying reports of a possible transit workers strike over contract negotiations with its largest union.

 

Philadelphia Magazine reported this week that the head of Transit Workers Union Local 234 told its bus drivers, subway operators and mechanics to prepare for a possible shutdown.

SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said the transit agency and the union are still actively negotiating.

“I just want to make sure people don’t start panicking. We are still very optimistic,” said Williams.

“We are still talking to TWU 234,” she added, referring to the union that represents about 4,700 of SEPTA’s 7,600 unionized employees.

Three other union contracts covering suburban employees also will expire by mid-April.

Local President Willie Brown did not return a request for comment. He headed Local 234 during its last strike just after the 2009 World Series took place in Philadelphia.

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