SEPTA strike, day three: Evening updates

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This is an ongoing story. Last updated 1:25 a.m., Friday, Nov. 4, 2016

As of Thursday, Nov 3, 2016 at 10:30 p.m., PlanPhilly’s Jim Saksa reported that NO deal had been reached yet. 

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It’s day three of the SEPTA strike in Philadelphia.

SEPTA did cancelled four trains due to crew shortages on Thursday night.  

West Trenton: Trains #2386 and #387 have been canceled due to a crew shortage. The next outbound is train #388; inbound will be #389.

— SEPTA (@SEPTA_WTR) November 3, 2016

Elwyn: Trains #373 and #392 have been canceled due to a crew shortage. The next outbound is train #383; inbound will be #394.

— SEPTA (@SEPTA) November 3, 2016

At this time we have seen no reports that union activity is to blame for the crew shortage.

On Tuesday, members of TWU Local 234 picketed SEPTA’s facilities near Wayne Junction and effectively blocked non-striking SEPTA crews from reporting for their shifts. This did result in seven Regional Rail trips to be cancelled on Tuesday. 

It was another night of long lines at SEPTA’s Center City Regional Rail stations. Other than tonight’s cancelled trains the train delays were shorter than Tuesday or Wednesday nights. The strike is impacting nearly everyone who needs to come into Center City. NBC10’s SkyForce pilot had a birds-eye view of the the traffic. He said you can definately see the increase in traffic since the strike began. 

Why are we still getting packed like sardines rather than direct access to train tacks @ 30th St? #septastrike pic.twitter.com/WE10qGwsSI

— Dan Halberstadt (@DanDjhrph) November 3, 2016

What others are saying on Twitter:

Matt G. 6:05 p.m. Updating my resume to include “Rode bicycle across Philadelphia via Chestnut Street at rush hour without a helmet during #SeptaStrike

Kara G. 5:57 p.m. “I’m hungry and right next to @PPFpretzels but don’t dare leave this line. 

Justin B. 5:51 p.m. “Train 580 just decided to skip Haverford…so annoyed with Septa this year.”

Amanda Mosiniak 5:21 p.m. “The trains are so empty! Why do they hold us off the platform into the train comes? It’s causing chaos for no reason”

Courtney Flynn ‏4:44 p.m. “One thing the #septastrike has taught me is how cows feel when they get moved from field to field”

Consuela Thomas 1:42 p.m. “I’m quitting my job and going to work for @SEPTA they will be making 100k a year by the end of this strike”

Waka Waka Walker 12:55 p.m. “Can I sue #septa if my legs won’t work anymore? #longasswalk” 

The negotiations

In the past 24 hours we’ve seen both sides waging a public relations war to win your sympathies. Both sides fired off statements portraying their side as the one most willing to negotiate in good faith. 

SEPTA statement issued Weds, Nov 2, 2016

On the union’s central issue of pension reform, for example, we adopted an entirely new plan at the Union’s request –that would increase the benefits for TWU members….SEPTA negotiators have been working tirelessly to get a deal done, and we’re asking TWU leadership to do the same –for the sake of their members, and the people who rely on them every day to safely get them where they need to go.

TWU Local 234 statement issued Nov 3, 2016

Despite the SEPTA Board Chairman’s rhetoric, and thanks to the efforts of concerned elected leaders, along with the help of a state mediator, progress was made in the past 36 hours. More needs to be done. We’ve been engaged in give and take. But Deon’s idea of bargaining where he tells the public half-truths about what’s on the table while telling the union to take it or leave it won’t get us across the finish line. 

Would you drive a SEPTA bus?

It’s clear that anyone who counts on SEPTA to be there for them would be frustrated right now. There are a lot of comments on social media from people who pay more for their health insurance than SEPTA workers and they don’t want to hear any complaints coming from striking workers.

But for a moment consider what it is actually like to drive a SEPTA bus or trolley. PlanPhilly, (a publication of WHYY), talked to some striking workers and asked them to explain the contract dispute in terms of how it impacts them personally. Here is Karen, a bus driver, who declined to give her last name. 

“We’re out here 12 hours a day and we’re going up and down the street and there’s no restrooms on the routes that we have. So sometimes you can’t make it to the end of the line to go to the bathroom. And you literally have to pull over and pray that one of the stores or locations will let us use the restroom without purchasing anything,” she said. 

Read the full story

Could SEPTA’s strike impact the presidential election?

Well, if you listen to what many Pennsylvania Democrats are saying then the answer must be yes. Pennsylvaia is a swing state in this year’s tight presidential election.  

“This will hold down the turnout in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia area,” said Ed Rendell. “I guess that would be good for Donald Trump. Who knows?”

SEPTA says, if the strike is on next week,  it will seek court injunction to force striking employees to work on election day. PlanPhilly’s Jim Saska has a detail explanation of how that would work. 

The national radio program Marketplace, heard on WHYY-FM weekdays at 6:30 p.m., explores why labor law and not election law will guide the courts in deciding a court injunction. 

This strike is workers’ 12th since 1975, making SEPTA the most strike-prone transit agency in the country, according to Forbes

Lines stretch through shops in underground concourse on day 3 of #septastrike pic.twitter.com/wF713nf00x

— Hayden Mitman (@HaydenMitman) November 3, 2016

What’s not operating: 

SEPTA city bus routes, trolley routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34 and 36, the Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line.

What is operating: 

SEPTA Regional Rail Lines,the Norristown High Speed Line, Trolley Routes 101 and 102 and Suburban bus routes, CCT, LUCY, and Routes 204, 205, 310 and Cornwells Heights Parking Shuttle. 

Check SEPTA’s guide for service interruptions here. 

This is an ongoing story. Check back with us at NewsWorks.org for updates.

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