As the transit strike continues to affect Philadelphia residents, city transit officials are seeking legal action so as to cease the strike during Election Day so that people can vote.
The Philadelphia communal transportation workers have been on strike ever since last Monday after midnight as the city’s transport workers’ union representatives were unable to reach an agreement with the officials.
The local Transport Workers Union (TWU) decide to initiate a transit strike after the city failed negotiations with the Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).
The TWU represents some 4,700 workers spanning across all public transport areas, from vehicle technicians to drivers. As the union workers went on strike the subways, buses, and trolleys which assured a daily public transportation means for almost 1 million passengers stopped running.
The main points of conflict and which are being negotiated by the SEPTA and TWU are related to health care costs and working conditions.
The strike was initiated after SEPTA was allegedly planning on increasing health care costs and taxes for the transit workers.
As the transit strike began, the local union representatives have been negotiating with the Pennsylvania transportation authorities so as receive both a better health care plan and better pensions.
Another important point is the working condition as according to the union, the five-minute break which should be guaranteed between rides is too short and sometimes not even respected. They also consider that the drivers should have a longer break between shifts.
The local TWU argues that not only their members would benefit from this conditions as a well-rested, healthier driver would also ensure a safer transportation means for the commuters.
With the negotiation stalling or registering small advances, SEPTA officials sought an injunction that would see a temporary cessation of the transit strike for the election, injunction which was denied on Friday.
According to SEPTA, the injunction sought to ensure a safer and easier transportation for the city’s elders and people in need so that they could vote during the Tuesday Election Day.
At the same time, the transportation union argued that the SEPTA was relying on this measure so as to cease the strike by relying on the court decision, rather than on negotiations.
After the Friday failed attempt, the city of Philadelphia will forward a court motion that seeks to ensure the same measure and help its residents vote.
The city’s motion will be presented in front of a ruling court later today just as efforts are being made so as to minimize the effect of the transit strike during Election Day.
Sozi Pedro Tulane, City Solicitor, declared on Sunday that although efforts are being made in order to ensure transportation on Tuesday if an agreement is not reached between the TWU and SEPTA, many Philadelphia residents will find it hard if not impossible to vote.
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