In response to the SEPTA service interruption that began at 12:01 A.M. yesterday morning, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District) and Councilman Bobby Henon (6th District) issued the following statement:
“We had hoped that SEPTA and Transport Workers Union Local 234 would come to a successful long-term labor agreement that would not result in a strike, as contract negotiations have been ongoing since mid-July 2016. However, unresolved pension disparities, driver fatigue issues, and general public safety concerns led union workers to walk off the job yesterday morning.
Union workers are upset that SEPTA approved increases to management’s pensions by an average of $500 a month last year, while continuing to oppose increased employee benefits. Additionally, union workers are pushing to increase the minimum time requirement between scheduled shifts longer than 9 hours to reduce driver and operator fatigue.
The 5,000 workers of TWU Local 234 are a vital part of the success of Philadelphia’s transportation network. Ensuring the continuity of service on SEPTA’s network is essential for the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of Philadelphia residents and for the economic vitality of the Greater-Philadelphia region and of the Commonwealth as a whole. We ask that the thousands of SEPTA users who have been impacted by the strike be patient. We know that it is frustrating, but fair workers’ rights and improved operating conditions that ensure the public’s safety needs to be a top priority.
We urge both parties back to the negotiating table to reach a compromise.”
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Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, a former Pennsylvania State Representative, represents the 2nd Council District which includes parts of Center City, South Philadelphia, and Southwest Philadelphia. More information at phlcouncil.com/KenyattaJohnson
Councilman Bobby Henon currently serves as the Majority Leader of Philadelphia City Council. He represents the 6th District. More information at www.phlcouncil.com/BobbyHenon
Photo: Used under Creative Commons license.