November 9, 2009
Check this week's classifieds for a range of professional opportunities!
SEPTA Employees on Strike
More than 5,000 employees of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), members of the Transport Workers Union Local 234, SEPTA’s largest union, went on strike at 3 a.m. on Nov. 3. While it was after the last World Series game to be held in Philadelphia, and therefore had no impact on patrons traveling to the stadium, the strike had an immediate impact on all riders, who take an average of more than 928,000 trips each weekday.
The walkout affected bus, subway, and trolley service in the city, as well as Frontier Division bus service in Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester counties. Regional rail; most suburban bus, trolley, and high-speed lines; and CCT Connect paratransit will continue to operate.
The union went on strike after walking away from contract negotiations because of disagreements over wage, pension, and health care issues. Employees want an annual 4 percent wage hike and want to keep the current 1 percent contribution they make toward the cost of health care coverage; the authority offered an 11.5 percent wage increase over 5 years.
Compounding the problems for commuters and other riders caused by the strike, moreover, was a fire aboard a regional rail train traveling between West Philadelphia and Center City Philadelphia during the morning rush hour on Nov. 4. A SEPTA spokesman said that investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire but they had no reason to think it was of a suspicious nature.
The spokesman said it was most likely an electrical fire that started at the front of the train. No injuries were reported in that incident.