Philly Transit strike threat looms as 3 SEPTA unions seek new contracts

The largest union that represents SEPTA workers — Transit Workers Union Local 234 — has authorized a strike if a contract deal can’t be reached by the end of October.

And, in a statement released Monday, TWU Local 234 President Brian Pollitt warned that talks — that began this week — are “going nowhere fast.”

“The TWU bargaining team will continue to negotiate in good faith. However, the clock is ticking and if there is no agreement by midnight on October 31st our members gave us the green light to strike,” Pollitt said in a statement.

Pollitt’s statement included a number of issues that the union — which says it represents 5,000 employees throughout SEPTA — hope to have addressed.

These issues include improving recruitment and retention at the mass transit company — the union claims that SEPTA has 800 unfilled positions — along with claims that this shortage of staff has led to “forced overtime” for employees in the union. Currently, the union noted in a statement, that “operators can be forced to work on one of their days off every week.”

“The heavy workload can leave workers fatigued, resulting in both a physical and psychological safety hazard. It also leads operators to call out sick in order to get rest, compounding the problem of filling open runs,” the union claimed.