SEPTA transit police officers go on strike

Nearly 200 SEPTA transit police officers are going on strike, effective immediately. The news comes after several days of contract negotiations failed, union officials announced Wednesday.

SEPTA does not expect the strike to result in any service disruptions for customers. They have implemented a strike contingency plan. There are 49 SEPTA police supervisors who remain on duty and they will work 12-hour shifts on patrols throughout the system.

In addition, the Philadelphia Police Department will provide assistance, including an increased presence at major transportation centers at school dismissal time, and checks of stations, cashier booths and vehicles throughout the service day.

Police in suburban communities will also help with patrols and responses in outlying parts of the SEPTA system.

Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Transit Police Officers Lodge 109 says members have been working without an agreement for more than a year.

According to FOP 109 president Omari Bervine, the union is underpaid and understaffed, forcing officers to leave for better paying jobs and compromising public safety.

"Over the past couple of years we have lost nearly 50 officers, which is approximately 20-percent of our workforce to better paying jobs," said Bervine.

"These officers put their lives on the line every day to protect the riding public--and do it in a professional, caring and compassionate manner," Bervine added. "And they need to be compensated fairly."