On Sunday October 25, members of the Transit Workers Union, TWU Local 234,voted to authorize a strike, due to stalled contract negotiations with SEPTA. TWU Local 234, which represents 4,700 workers in the city, has been operating without a contract since March of 2009. As a TWU flyer explains, SEPTA management has rejected any salary increases for workers for the next five years even though SEPTA ridership is up 30 percent and the transit authority has received increased funding from both the commonwealth and the Federal government. The authorization of a strike comes one week before the first World Series game in Philadelphia On October 31.
Willie Brown, President of Local 234, explained of the strike vote:
“We have been without a contract since March, and enough is enough. We have to have a deadline, we’ll negotiate the rest of the week as long as we can, but this is our last week working without a contract.”
The last time members of TWU Local 234 went on strike in 2005, the mainstream press and SEPTA ran a concerted campaign against the union attempting to create division between SEPTA ridership and the union. As this strike moves forward it is important that we monitor this situation and help make the case for the workers, illustrating that the strike and the inconvenience it creates is not the fault of hard working bus drivers and subway workers, but rather of a greedy management.