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Regional Rail

NEWS
June 15, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA railroad engineers and electrical workers went on strike early Saturday, halting commuter rail service in the Philadelphia region, after last-ditch efforts by federal mediators failed to break an impasse in the long-running labor dispute. The strike shut down 13 Regional Rail lines that provide 60,000 passengers with 126,000 rides on a typical weekday. That promised to snarl already clogged highways with additional cars and to hamper commuters and their employers throughout the region.
NEWS
June 14, 2014
SEPTA officials plan to "impose" pay hikes of more than 8 and 11 percent on a pair of Regional Rail unions this weekend. For most Americans laboring under the dreary realities of the modern economy, such raises are an imposition devoutly to be wished. Remarkably, though, the unions say they would respond by going on strike, bringing the commuter lines to a halt. Stories of public employee unions choking on terms that would make their private-sector counterparts salivate have become commonplace in Philadelphia.
NEWS
June 13, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
When new construction work started Wednesday night on I-95, it added one more obstacle to smooth travel in the Philadelphia region. The $212 million project between Girard and Allegheny Avenues will last until 2018, adding to the woes of I-95 travelers already slowed by major reconstruction at Cottman Avenue. Add a possible strike that could shut down all 13 SEPTA Regional Rail lines at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the emergency closure until at least Labor Day of an I-495 bridge in Wilmington, summerlong lane restrictions, and a closed PATCO train track on the Ben Franklin Bridge, and you have the makings of regional gridlock.
NEWS
June 12, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
In a last-ditch effort to avert a commuter rail strike, a federal mediator will meet Friday with SEPTA officials and leaders of two railroad unions. The National Mediation Board has asked the two sides to meet with its representative at 10 a.m. Friday at the offices of a Philadelphia law firm. SEPTA locomotive engineers and railroad electrical workers have said they plan to go on strike at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, following SEPTA's decision to impose management's terms to settle a long-running labor dispute.
NEWS
June 11, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA moved Monday to impose management's terms in a long-running labor dispute with Regional Rail workers, which union leaders said could prompt a strike that would halt all commuter rail service at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. SEPTA's goal apparently is to risk a strike now, when ridership is lower, than next winter, when more commuters and students rely on the system. Regional Rail trains carry about 126,000 riders a day. "We need to get an agreement now," SEPTA general manager Joseph Casey said Monday.
NEWS
May 24, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA will spend about 3 percent more for transit operations in the fiscal year that begins July 1, and it will nearly double its spending on major construction and repair projects, thanks to an infusion of state money. The SEPTA board unanimously approved a $1.33 billion operating budget and a $572 million capital budget Thursday, without discussion. The operating budget, which includes no fare increases, provides money for a pilot program to resume 24-hour-a-day subway service on weekends, beginning this summer.
BUSINESS
May 3, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA's Regional Rail engineers moved a step closer to being able to strike early next year, after the National Mediation Board on Thursday ended its efforts to broker an agreement. The board on Thursday declared an impasse in negotiations and suggested the two sides submit their long-running dispute to binding arbitration. The 220 engineers, represented by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, said they would accept arbitration, but SEPTA will not, spokeswoman Jerri Williams said.
NEWS
April 4, 2014 | BY DAN GERINGER, Daily News Staff Writer geringd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5961
WHEN THE LAST of SEPTA's contracts with its unionized workers expires on Sunday, the clock starts ticking on the time bomb of a crippling transit strike. Willie Brown, president of Transport Workers Union Local 234, which represents 5,000 transit workers, told the Daily News yesterday that he does not want a strike. But this is the same Willie Brown who suddenly called one in 2009, leaving hundreds of thousands of SEPTA riders stranded for six days. Brown told the Daily News yesterday that he won't accept SEPTA's initial offer of a five-year contract with no raises during 2014 and 2015, a 6 percent raise spread over the next three years, increased employee contributions to health care and no pension plan for new hires.
NEWS
April 1, 2014
REMEMBER "American Graffiti"? Remember the hamburger-shop drive-in where all the cool kids with cars hung out? (That was California. Around here it was Hot Shoppes.) Did anything better capture the love affair between the automobile and the American teenager? It looks as though the romance is fading like a summer tan. That observation follows reporting by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission that automobile use around here is down. The "why" is intriguing.
NEWS
March 22, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
For Philadelphia-area commuters, the possibility of a first-ever transit strike by all SEPTA union workers could loom large when a federally mandated mediation process for Regional Rail engineers expires later this year. After that, the engineers, who have been working without a new contract since 2010, would be permitted to strike. SEPTA's labor contract with city bus drivers and subway operators has already expired, and contracts with suburban operators and mechanics will expire in early April.
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