Gov. Wolf, President of TWU Local 234 release statements on status of SEPTA contract talks

- On Sunday, Governor Wolf was the latest to release a statement regarding the SEPTA and TWU Local 234 Strike.

In the statement, Wolf states his intention to file an amicus in support of the immediate injunction pending before the court.

Here is the statement Wolf released:

"Over the last several weeks, I have had multiple conversations with both SEPTA and TWU and urged them to come together and reach a fair agreement. Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania residents rely on SEPTA to travel each day to and from work and school, and to the grocery store and medical appointments among other needs.

"It is clear that both sides have failed to reach an agreement and the work stoppage has crippled the City of Philadelphia's transportation system. It has become not only an issue that is impacting the ability of the elderly and individuals with disabilities to access care, and students to receive an education, but it is also one that has grave economic consequences for both the city and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The strike is also unfair to the workers who want to return to do the job they were trained to do and to serve the people of Pennsylvania.

"Due to the inability of SEPTA and TWU to reach a compromise, I will file an amicus brief in support of the immediate injunction pending before the court to ensure that the system is fully operational and able to serve the individuals who rely solely on SEPTA for their transportation needs.

"This strike has been devastating for so many individuals and their families and has created extreme hardships for the city and for businesses. The time for it to end is now."

The president of TWU Local 234 released a statement regarding the status of SEPTA contract talks Saturday evening.

“We can’t get anywhere at the bargaining table because SEPTA has pinned their hopes on getting an injunction to end the strike. SEPTA Board Chairman Pat Deon’s plan all along has been to rely on the courts rather than negotiations. He is the one using the election as leverage. This is not the way to end a strike or get an agreement. It’s foolhardy to launch a legal Hail Mary pass designed to make SEPTA’s high-priced lawyers richer and circumvent the collective bargaining process,” President of TWU local 234 Willie Brown said.

“Let’s stop stalling. We need to finish bargaining on the pension fund in particular. We have nearly 5,000 workers in our union, SEPTA employs roughly 1,700 managers, yet they put more money into the management plan than frontline workers get. On top of that last year SEPTA secretly gave each management retiree a $6,000 annual increase in their pension checks. Managers have both a defined benefit pension and a generous match to a 401k plan.

“During this strike period we’ve learned that the majority of those who serve on SEPTA’s own board were kept in the dark about management’s pension boost.  They had no knowledge that management was lining their own pockets while crying poverty.

“Two years ago, SEPTA said they would create a more equitable pension system -- they did the opposite. The public needs to understand that we won’t tighten our belts while they raid the cookie jar.

“Pat Deon thinks he can get our labor for free. Prior to the strike, their last offer would have had our members taking home less next year than they do today. That’s no longer the case. We’ve made progress on both economic and non-economic issues. Only a handful of issues separate us. It’s time to settle this deal at the table. Let’s get this done.”

The SEPTA strike stretched into day 6 on Sunday following a judge’s ruling on Saturday against SEPTA’s request for an injunction that would force 5,000 bus, subway, and trolley operators back to work.

SEPTA officials pushed for legal action, saying that the strike was causing an immediate danger to the safety and welfare of the riders.  A judge said their case wasn't strong enough.  Both sides will be back in court on Monday. 

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