SEPTA union workers vote to strike unless they forge new deal

- Fired up and ready for a fight.

The union that represents 5,000 bus, trolley and train operators is voting unanimously to hit the picket line if they don't reach a new deal with SEPTA before the current contract is up at the end of the month -- two weeks from now.

Willie Brown, the Local 234 President, "I don't think that SEPTA is serious. They’re trying bully tactics and they're trying it with the wrong people."

“What kind of tactics?"

"Everything we ask for the answer is no. And they can't give us good reasons why."

The union and the transportation authority are at odds over pension plans - the union wants to raise the cap from 50 to 70 thousand dollars.

Healthcare and scheduling issues are also on the table--the union says many operators don't have time to eat or go to the restroom on the job.

Union head Willie Brown says negotiations have not gone well since they began in July.

"We have to strike in order for them to give us fair treatment."

For workers like bus operator Shelly Taylor frustration drove her to vote yes.

"We're on the frontline. We carry the majority of this city around."

In a statement SEPTA says, "The parties continue to bargain to reach a new agreement.  While we hope that the union does not exercise its right to strike, we are focusing on reaching a new contract that's in the best interest of our riders, employees and stakeholders."

Brown says the union will not extend the current contract to avoid a strike.

SEPTA and the union narrowly avoided a strike two years ago when the current contract was negotiated.

The possible strike could overlap with Election Day. Something some members view as leverage while union leaders say it will simply be a coincidence.

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