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NEWS
November 2, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA and its largest union avoided a regionwide transit strike by postponing the day of reckoning on two major issues that will resurface soon: pensions and health-care contributions. "I don't know whether I'm getting trick or treat," SEPTA general manager Joseph Casey said as he arrived on Halloween night for the final hours of negotiations at an Old City hotel. In the end, he got both. By settling on a two-year contract Friday instead of a five-year pact, SEPTA and Transport Workers Union Local 234 gave themselves - and their one million daily riders - a reprieve from a strike.
NEWS
November 2, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
AFTER DEBATING FOR hours, SEPTA and its largest union reached a tentative agreement on a months-long contract dispute. Sources close to the negotiations said the transit authority and Transport Workers Union Local 234 had signed a two-year labor contract late last night, avoiding a strike, though no further details were immediately available. Late last night, several SEPTA executives, including General Manager Joseph Casey and board chairman Pasquale Deon, joined the proceedings, signaling positive progress.
NEWS
November 2, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA and union negotiators reached a tentative agreement late Friday, averting the possibility of a strike that would have affected about a million daily bus, subway, and trolley riders in the region. With the assistance of U.S. Rep. Robert Brady (D., Pa.), the two sides came to terms on a two-year pact that will give workers a 5 percent raise over the life of the contract. The agreement awaits approval by the SEPTA board and the membership of Transport Workers Union Local 234. The terms will set the pattern for contracts with other unions representing SEPTA employees.
NEWS
October 30, 2014 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA's plan to expand rail service to King of Prussia got a major boost from the state with last year's transportation-funding bill. Yet two years into the project's planning, funding remains its largest hurdle. "We have funds for about 30 percent of the design, but the big question is: How do we pay for the construction?" SEPTA general manager Joseph M. Casey said Tuesday. "We need help, we need financial help, to get this going. " Casey gathered with fellow planners and politicians at the Chemical Heritage Foundation to discuss the need for rail service linking Philadelphia to King of Prussia, and what it would take to make it happen.
NEWS
October 29, 2014 | BY DAN GERINGER, Daily News Staff Writer geringd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5961
JOANN JACKSON-SMITH, who has driven a SEPTA bus for three years, went to her first Transport Workers Local 234 strike vote yesterday, and brought her daughters Jasmin, 13, and Jenevieve, 11, to give them a living civics lesson. "When you stand together as a group and fight for what you believe in, you stand strong," Jackson-Smith said after more than 1,000 union members voted unanimously to authorize a strike if negotiations with SEPTA management break down. "I've never done anything like this before," Jackson-Smith said.
NEWS
October 29, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
ALTHOUGH SEPTA's largest union is meeting tomorrow to take a strike vote, a source said riders don't have to worry about the subway shutting down on Monday. But what happens after that is a different story. Transport Workers Union Local 234 - which represents nearly 5,000 bus drivers and subway and trolley operators - is in the midst of heated negotiations with the transit authority over health-care benefits and pensions, according to union officials. TWU's members have been working without a contract since the spring, when the union's previous agreement expired.
NEWS
October 29, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
REST ASSURED, commuters: If a contract dispute between SEPTA and its largest union turns sour, the city's train operators and bus and trolley drivers won't strike until next week. And if they do decide to strike, they'll give us all 24 hours' notice, according to Willie Brown, the president of Transport Workers Union Local 234. "My decision to strike is totally up to SEPTA," said Brown, who noted that, even after months of negotiations, the distance between his union and SEPTA on key matters, especially pensions, is as wide as the gap between "California and Pennsylvania.
NEWS
October 28, 2014 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, Inquirer Staff Writer
No one wants a strike. "I often have no choice in the matter," said Willie Brown, 51, president of Transport Workers Local 234, the union representing SEPTA's bus drivers, subway operators, and trolley drivers. "I don't think it's a matter of if we strike," he said. "It's simply a matter of when, unfortunately. " On Sunday, union members moved a step closer to a strike, voting to allow Brown to call workers off the job - any time, and without warning. Question: You go on strike to gain benefits for workers, but do you worry that the people you are hurting most are the everyday working people who rely on transit to get to their jobs?
NEWS
October 28, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA transit workers are likely to strike soon, their union president said Monday, but it won't be this week, and no strike date has been set as labor talks continue. Willie Brown, president of Transport Workers Union Local 234, said workers and SEPTA management were as far apart "as California and Pennsylvania. " He said he would reassess the strike prospect after this week. The main sticking point, he said, is the union's request for changes to its pension plan. Unlike five years ago, when the TWU went on strike in the middle of a night without notice, riders this time will get 24-hour notice of an impending strike, Brown said.
NEWS
October 28, 2014 | By Mike Newall and Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writers
SEPTA bus drivers, subway and trolley operators, and other transit workers voted unanimously Sunday to authorize a strike, which could take effect this year or early in 2015. The voting took place in a huge Columbus Boulevard meeting hall packed with hundreds of SEPTA union members. "There wasn't a nay in the room," said Willie Brown, president of Transport Workers Union Local 234. "Members don't want to strike, but they are willing to fight for what we need. " Among the sticking points, he said, is a disagreement between the union and management about the size of pension fund contributions.
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