“I'll be home. And possibly homeless. Because if I can't work -- I can't pay my bills.”
Regina Cantave rides the el train home tonight with a worried mind. She feels like the SEPTA workers' union should pursue a new contract, with better pay and a better quality of life. She just hopes the threatened November 1st strike doesn't keep her from pursuing her own. “I understand that the Septa workers, they have to go on strike, and they have families that they have to look out for as well. But for us who depend on Septa every day? It's going to be a problem.”
I rode the Market-Frankford El line and found that out. It’s going to be a problem for thousands of people who ride the trains, buses and trolleys if the strike goes down. Transport Workers Union Local 234’s contract runs out on Halloween, and if terms haven't been agreed upon, leadership has voted to strike the next day, November 1st. Union bosses have also voted not to extend the current contract. Commuters’ sympathy seemed to stop with access to their own jobs being blocked.
“I think it's hurtful. I think it's kind of selfish too. I think they're thinking of themselves,” said one rider, on the Tioga terminal platform. “Other people got to live too, not just them.”
Local 234 represents about five thousand workers, and they’re calling for better pay, pension terms and more down time for drivers. Union leadership was quiet today -- they're said to be at the bargaining table with SEPTA negotiators at the Sheraton, but I couldn't root them out. So I go to you. What if you were a train or bus driver with a family… don't you want a better deal? But then, what if they strike and you can't get to work on the first?