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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 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 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 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 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.
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 26, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA bus drivers, subway and trolley operators, and other transit workers will vote Sunday afternoon on authorizing a strike this year or early next year. No strike appears imminent, said officials for the union and the transit authority. Transport Workers Union Local 234 is the largest of SEPTA's 17 unions, representing about 5,000 drivers, operators, mechanics, cashiers, and other workers. They have been working without a contract since the previous five-year pacts expired in March and April, and union president Willie Brown has said a strike is all but certain.
NEWS
October 25, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA's long-delayed, $130-million smart-card payment system will be called SEPTA Key, the agency announced Thursday. Like Ben Franklin's key. Get it? But unlike Franklin's kite experiment, no lightning speed is involved with SEPTA's move away from tokens, passes and tickets. The first new subway turnstiles are in place, but widespread use of the card on subways and buses won't happen till next year, and on Regional Rail, not until 2016 at least. The new system will allow riders to use any "contactless" credit card or a SEPTA-issued card or even a smartphone to pay their fares at card-reading turnstiles or bus fare boxes.
NEWS
October 15, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
AFTER negotiating for five years, SEPTA has settled with one of its Regional Rail unions. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen reached a "tentative agreement" with the transit authority yesterday afternoon, according to a statement from union leaders. The parties approved a contract that, once ratified by the union's 200 members and by SEPTA's board of directors, would cover the union through July. "This agreement keeps the trains rolling in Philadelphia," union vice president Steve Bruno said in announcing the agreement.
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