At 5:35 a.m. this morning, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell held a news conference, carried live on Philadelphia radio and television, at his Philadelphia office to announce that a settlement has been reached in the labor action against the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority [SEPTA]. Governor Rendell had met with the unions, and with SEPTA, on Sunday and urged them to resume negotiations and seek compromises in the dispute.
The Governor's Philadelphia office hosted these talks, which started at 3:00 p.m. Sunday. Except for an hour-and-a-half dinner break at 7:00 p.m., the talks went non-stop until the settlement was reached early Monday morning at 5:00 a.m.
Among the terms of the tentative agreement:
* Contract will last for four years.
* Union members will receive a 3% raise in each of the years of the contract.
* Union members have agreed to pay 1% [for up to 40 hours per week] for the cost of medical insurance premiums [SEPTA had been seeking 5% contributions from
* Improvements were made in the workers' pension plans.
Within an hour of the Governor's announcement, buses were starting to hit the streets and both the Broad Street Subway and the Market/Frankford Elevated and Subway were running at 15-minute intervals--LOCAL SERVICE ONLY [there was no Express Subway service as is usually available during rush hours].
Also, by 7:00 a.m., the Norristown High-Speed Line was running the normal route at 15-minute intervals between Norristown and Philadelphia's 69th Street Terminal [western terminus of the Market/Frankford "El"].
Transit service will be geared-up throughout the day, with all regular service expected to be in-place for Monday's afternoon rush-hours.
In Pittsburgh, the Executive Board of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local will meet today, to consider recommending to the membership a Pittsburgh transit strike, at a meeting of the membership on November 20. Over the weekend, Governor Rendell warned the Pittsburgh union about a strike saying such a move could jeopardize state and federal funding for public transit.
"I would be careful about striking," Rendell said during a Saturday visit to Pittsburgh. "You are eroding support for mass transit," as reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Click here for an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding the end of the Philadelphia Transit strike:
Click here for an article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, regarding the Governor's comments on the possibility of a Pittsburgh transit strike: