Philadelphia will still have to deal with the transit strike as negotiations have not touched on a common ground, hope to reach an agreement before Election Day.
The transit strike began in the city of Philadelphia on Tuesday, November 1, at 12:01 a.m. and saw the shutting down of the city’s bus, trolley and subway systems. The transit workers went on strike amidst demands for better-working conditions, pension benefits, and salary increases.
The strike involves over 4,700 transit workers covering all the aforementioned transportation means, and was initiated after concession demands and failed negotiations.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA, is said to have demanded a higher contribution from the workers for their health care coverage and also a proposed a concession of their pensions and wages.
The TWU, the Transport Workers Union, opposed this measures and also refused to sign an extension of their current work contracts and announced their intention of going on strike if their demands were not met.
According to recent SEPTA and TWU declarations, some progress was made late last night, but negotiations will still continue until the two unions reach an agreement.
The Philly city transit system accounts for almost million rides every day, and although out of city commute lines are not affected, Philadelphia will probably still be quite heavily affected by the situation.
The main points of the negotiations refer to the health care benefits, the workers’ pensions, and also their working hours and conditions.
As the current 5-minute break between runs is both too tight and sometimes not even respected, union representatives ask for an increased, 10-minute break.
An increase in the number of free hours between shifts was also demanded, with a 14-hour break instead of the current 9 hours. This would lead to a healthier and safer transit for both the commuters and the drivers as the new hours should help combat driver fatigue and offer better-working conditions.
The effects of the transit strike were quick to follow as they affected the school district but seemed to have boosted the bike and car sharing programs and services.
Highway and regional rail lines were reported to have been the cause of delays as the system experienced and was unable to handle the increase and over demand in numbers of passengers or cars.
As the city continue to be affected by the transit strike, both the residents and the striking workers hope that a common ground in the negotiations will be soon to follow as both categories seem to strive for a smooth working transit systems.
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