SEPTA, union reach tentative deal in Regional Rail dispute

Posted: August 15, 2014

A TENTATIVE DEAL has been reached between SEPTA and one of the Regional Rail unions with which it's been locked in a long labor dispute, officials said yesterday.

Representatives from the transit authority and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers agreed yesterday to the terms of a new labor contract, said Arthur Davidson, the general chairman of the union's System Council No. 7.

With the contract approved by union leadership, the next step is for it to be ratified by IBEW's 220 members, who will be voting for the next two weeks on the matter, Davidson said.

The terms, according to Davidson, reflect recommendations made last month by a Presidential Emergency Board.

President Obama had convened the board at the request of Gov. Corbett, who sought to end a strike by the IBEW and another union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, that shuttered Regional Rail lines for one day in June.

In its report, the board recommends that the wage increases paid out to the members of the BLET and the IBEW should be the same (11.5 percent) as those doled out in a 2010 contract with the Transport Workers Union, which represents SEPTA's bus drivers and subway operators.

The board denied the idea of retroactive pay, a major sticking point during the dispute, stemming from the time the unions have worked without contracts - four and five years for BLET and IBEW, respectively.

Jerri Williams, a SEPTA spokeswoman, said a special meeting would be held Monday to seek permission from the transit authority's board of directors to have the board's chairman, Pasquale Deon, sign the deal as soon as it's approved.

The other union, BLET, is still in talks with SEPTA, Williams said.

"We're still hopeful. We are talking, and our recommendations by [the board] have been helpful to bring parties closer together," Williams said.

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