He’s baaaack! Willie Brown, who gained notoriety for the SEPTA strike he orchestrated in 2009, will once again lead Local 324, Philadelphia’s 5,000 member transit workers union. With new contract negotiations on the table again, its members voted Brown back, after ousting him three years ago. For SEPTA, the re-emergence of Brown could be especially problematic. The beleaguered, underfunded agency says that if the state doesn’t pass an adequate transportation funding bill, it’s going to commence a series of brutal cuts next year. Entire regional rail lines will be cut (Cynwyd in ’14, Media-Thorndale in ’15, Chestnut Hill West in ’18) and trolleys will be converted to busses. If Brown plays hardball with SEPTA again this time around, don’t expect him to shed a tear for stranded commuters. “I can’t worry about what the public says,” he told City Paper in 2009. “I have to worry about what my members say. That’s who I have to please.” [Daily News]
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