SEPTA Union Workers vote to Authorize Strike

SEPTA Union Workers vote to Authorize Strike

The Union workers for SEPTA's bus, subway and trolley system have voted Sunday to authorize a strike. Until now, there has been no walkout planned for Monday's morning rush hour.

A news conference has been planned for Monday afternoon as Willie Brown, president of Local 234 of the Transit Workers union, would update the media on the situation at 4 pm. The local represents about 4,700 bus drivers, subway and trolley operators, and maintenance workers at SEPTA.

All these 4,700 have been working under an expired contract at the transit agency since March this year. Local 234 is the largest of the 17 unions with which SEPTA bargains. It last went on strike in 2009.

NewsWorks partner NBC10 reported that Jerri Williams, SEPTA spokeswoman, insisted that a strike does not seem imminent.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is a metropolitan transportation authority that operates various public transit buses, subways and elevated rails, commuter rails, light rails and electric trolleybuses, serving 3.9 million people in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.

Earlier this month, an agreement between the separate Regional Rail division and the transit agency was signed.

Brown, who heads Local 234 of the Transport Workers Union, said, "Number one, you have to have thick skin. You can take a group of people and tell them, `I have the cure for cancer' and you would think that everybody would applaud you. But as union president, someone is going to say, `Well, what about diabetes?' a thick skin will be there to deal with that".