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NEWS
July 18, 2014
A presidential panel's endorsement of SEPTA's reasonable offers to two unions should be the last stop for a suspended strike that threatens to bring suburban lines to a needless standstill. Much of the public was no doubt nonplussed by the one-day Regional Rail strike last month, which came in response to SEPTA's decision to "impose" raises of as much as 11.5 percent on engineers and electrical workers after years of stalemate. Now a board of experienced arbitrators appointed by a Democratic president has reached the same conclusion that many American workers would: The raises were a generous imposition indeed.
NEWS
July 16, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
IN ITS REPORT filed yesterday, a board called by President Obama to end a years-long labor dispute sided with SEPTA on raises and pension-plan contributions - two major sticking points behind a one-day Regional Rail strike last month. "We are pleased with the results of the report," said Jerri Williams, a SEPTA spokeswoman. "It's what we've been trying to explain in negotiations with the unions for a number of years. " The board recommends that the wage increases paid out to the members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers should be the same (11.5 percent)
NEWS
July 16, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
A panel appointed by President Obama sided with SEPTA management Monday on most of the issues in its long-running labor dispute with Regional Rail engineers and electrical workers. The presidential emergency board, whose recommendations are not binding, said the rail workers should get the same 11.5 percent raises negotiated in a five-year contract in 2009 by bus drivers and subway operators. The railroad workers are not entitled to retroactive raises or an additional increase based on a pension boost received by the bus drivers' union, the board said.
NEWS
June 17, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
SEPTA's Regional Rail lines are once again rolling, thanks to a little help from the White House. The strike that shuttered the transit authority's rail lines ended yesterday after a single day, thanks to an executive order signed by President Obama at the request of Gov. Corbett. In light of that, all Regional Rail workers showed up for their morning shifts yesterday, and the lines were officially back in action for the 60,000 people they serve daily, SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said.
NEWS
June 16, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
SEPTA's Regional Rail lines lay empty today. And they'll stay that way for the foreseeable future, if union representatives are to be believed. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen announced late last night that their members are now on strike, effectively shutting down the lines for the 60,000 people they serve daily. "There was no progress in these mediations," Arthur Davidson, general chairman for IBEW System Council No. 7, said last night.
NEWS
June 16, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Aubrey Whelan, Claudia Vargas, and Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writers
Updated Sunday, 6 a.m.  Regional Rail service is back; all workers scheduled for the Sunday morning shift showed up, says Jerri Williams, SEPTA spokeswoman. Previous story: President Obama signed an executive order Saturday evening, appointing an emergency board to mediate the SEPTA labor dispute, thus averting a lengthy strike. All 13 SEPTA Regional Rail lines should be back to normal operating schedules Sunday morning, transit agency spokeswoman Jerri Williams said.
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.
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