SEPTA union authorizes strike if no agreement is made this week

This story originally appeared in 6abc.

SEPTA union workers have wrapped up a meeting where a vote took place to possibly strike.

If a strike does occur, this could impact thousands of people throughout the city, including students who take SEPTA to school.

Following Sunday’s meeting, SEPTA released a statement, saying, “SEPTA and representatives from TWU Local 234 have been engaging in a productive dialogue at the bargaining table. Those discussions will continue this week, and we are hopeful that an agreement can be reached without any service disruptions for riders.”

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The union has been at odds with SEPTA over a number of issues as they work to negotiate a contract, which expires at midnight Oct. 31.

If SEPTA workers decide to strike, they likely wouldn’t walk off the job until after the contract expires.

Brown said the union is demanding higher wages and that they want them to be more comparable to the rest of the region.

He also said they’re pushing for changes to parental leave and will push for compensation for families of those who lose their lives to the coronavirus. Brown says they also want a safer workplace.

“We’re not trying to be greedy, we’re not trying to break the bank, we’re not trying to be unreasonable, but these are human rights issues,” Brown said. “These are issues we need to keep us and our families safe, and things we’re demanding that SEPTA comes to the table and negotiate over.”

If the more than 5,000 SEPTA workers strike, thousands of students who use SEPTA to get to and from school would be affected.

SEPTA released a statement reading in part, “We have to find a way to provide fair wages and benefits to employees, while also facing the challenges ahead.”

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School district officials are telling all parents to prepare for the district to switch to virtual learning if a strike happens.

SEPTA Statement on Contract Negotiations:

“SEPTA is committed to negotiating in good faith with TWU Local 234 on a new contract that is fair and financially responsible. We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached without any service disruptions.

“While federal COVID relief dollars are providing vital funds to stabilize operations during this ongoing crisis, these are temporary resources. SEPTA continues to lose approximately $1 million a day in revenues due to sharp declines in ridership, and with more employers embracing telework as we move into recovery, we know that ridership will not return to where it was in February 2020. We have to find a way to provide fair wages and benefits to employees, while also facing the challenges ahead. That’s why SEPTA has presented two paths to TWU leadership: a shorter-term deal that provides wage increases, a pandemic payment and other benefits, and a longer-term proposal that reflects future uncertainties. We look forward to reaching agreement on a new contract that provides stability for both our employees and the customers who rely on us every day.”

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