Strike looming, SEPTA, unions try to be "on time" with deal

    The clock is ticking on a contract between SEPTA and roughly 5,000 operators and mechanics. Today SEPTA officials and Transport Workers Union officials are negotiating – trying to avoid the first strike since a seven-day work stoppage in 2005.

    The clock is ticking on a contract between SEPTA and roughly 5,000 operators and mechanics. Today SEPTA officials and Transport Workers Union officials are negotiating – trying to avoid the first strike since a seven-day work stoppage in 2005.

    Transcript:
    Many Hollywood dramas show union negotiations as large groups of representatives sitting around one big table banging out agreements on the issues. SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney says the goal is to keep the negotiations more professional.

    Maloney: “In fact it’s usually small committees or meetings of individuals both from the union and SEPTA working on the very minute details of very complex issues on their own. This is an ongoing process. It’s not something you’d schedule at 9 and ends at 3. People will set up meeting at their convenience after they’ve studied the issues.”

    Maloney declined to comment on specifics of the negotiations. The contract expires March 15 and could halt SEPTA bus, subway, and trolley service. Union president Willie Brown says the parties are as far apart on issues as they were three months ago.  He says SEPTA’s subcontracting deals are a major negotiation point, even more so than wages.

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    [audio: reports20090306septa.mp3]

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