Friday, May 16, 2014

Two unions ponder SEPTA strike

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Engineers employed by SEPTA's regional rail operations plan to vote on authorizing a strike against the five-county authority, the national office of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen said Friday, May 16, 2014.

BLET employees, along with SEPTA railroad electrical workers represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 744, currently are in a federally mandated 30-day "cooling off" period. The mandate ends June 14.

The upcoming strike-authorization vote follows SEPTA's decision to decline an offer of binding arbitration from the National Mediation Board. Both unions, which represent about 440 workers at SEPTA, had agreed to arbitration.

SEPTA's largest union, Transport Workers Union Local Union 234, has been preparing for a possible strike since at least last March. TWU does not represent workers within SEPTA's regional rail operations, but in 1995 TWU members picketed on the tracks of some regional rail services to express sympathy with other striking union workers, disrupting operations.