Would No-Strike Bill Kill SEPTA Funding?

Options weighed as walkout date gets near.

Newsworks reports that SEPTA’s unions are — predictably — opposed to a new state bill that would keep them from striking. The unions, of course, are talking about striking early next month when all of SEPTA’s contracts with its workers have expired.

 The legislation is, predictably, opposed by SEPTA’s largest union, which is making the case that if the state annuls the right to strike, the Department of Labor could not sign off on the federal funding SEPTA receives from the Federal Transit Administration.

Transport Workers Union Local 234 argues that the Federal Transit Act prevents changes to their existing bargaining rights.


At this stage, the Department of Labor is declining to weigh in. A spokesman for the Department said that "The Federal Transit Act does not prohibit any state from passing laws relating to transit employees. Whether a state law impacts the worker protections provided for ... is determined on a case by case basis as applications for federal transit grants come to DOL for certification."

Here is the Department of Labor's website concerning the collective bargaining rights of workers at federally funded transit agencies. It's tough to read it in any fashion that permits the altering of TWU's collective bargaining rights — including the right to strike. But there are lawyers involved, so who knows?

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  • DTurner

    If that’s the case I am confused as to why CTA, MBTA, MTA, and WMATA already have strike restrictions in place.

    • Joel Mathis

      May be a matter of when A) they unionized and B) started receiving federal funding. As I understanding, SEPTA’s employees were already unionized when they moved from private to public service a few decades back. Can’t speak to other systems, but if they started up without union representation and/or certain collective bargaining rights/expectations, they don’t get to suddenly claim them. It’s all about the grandfathering.

      • DTurner

        Ah, I think you’re right about that; that’s probably the problem.

      • Ken Hamilton

        Then have SEPTA do like the auto companies did file for bankruptcy, bust the union and start over

  • Northeaster

    Pass the bill. I am sympathetic to some SEPTA employees, who truly do have a difficult job. But 5% wage increases every year for every employee is just absurd. The union simply wants to take advantage of the state funding recently provided by grabbing it for themselves. SEPTA needs that money for infrastructure improvement and the NPT. This is what happens anytime SEPTA gets financially a bit ahead, the union demands too much, strikes, and then the local politicians force SEPTA to overpay.

    • DTurner

      Not to mention that moving from pensions to a 401K-like system for new hires will be much more financially sustainable for the organization.

      • Northeaster

        Of course, but no union will ever be in favor of moving away from a pension system.

        • DTurner

          Even if it’s for new hires, it seems.

    • septa worker

      Did you know we don’t get a cost of living like other jobs?

      • septa worker

        Septa is top heavy,for every one employee there are 5 managers,did you know that?

      • Northeaster

        Most other jobs do not get a cost of living adjustment.

        • septa worker

          Name one major company that doesn’t get a cost of living raise,only one ,can you?
          Maybe you don’t work,you sound a little bitter.

          • Northeaster

            I’ve had a job since I turned 16. Never got a COLA in my life. In fact, almost nowhere will you get one today. Look, whine all you want, but public sentiment is against you. 5% raises each year is absurd. Not paying for healthcare is absurd. Using the outdated pension system is absurd. Get over yourselves, and don’t try to keep the city hostage.

          • septas finest

            People kills me with their only argument being what other companies don’t get, we shouldn’t get it either. Fuck that! Maybe these other jobs should become unionized and start fighting 4 what’s right 4 the workers. If you on the outside looking in then yea you have no clue. Nobody should have to pay a lot 4 healthcare, everyone should get cost of living raises, and if the company does better, well so should the employees. And if something is agreed on then no it shouldn’t be taken away. Fuck outta here.

    • septa worker

      Oh,one more thing.
      Did you know our pension is capped,that means we only get a certain amount,no more,where as septa’s mangers have no cap.that means sky’s the limit for them.is that fare?
      The problem is,your on the outside looking in.
      You don’t have a clue with whats going on.

      • Northeaster

        No one else has pensions. You don’t have a clue, as you are in the inside looking out.

  • matthew brandley

    Union scum getting desperate. Other states have no stike clauses for critical personnel. Its time that this be institued for these union maggots at SEPTA who cant learn to live within there means and cry poor mouth every year

    • Canary

      Calling them “scum” and “maggots” gets no one anywhere in this process. But your poor spelling and grammar doesn’t help either.

      • matthew brandley

        at my age I am to damn old to make clowns like you to damn happy to go back to school and learn how to spell. you can take your damn grammar police crap and shove it up your damn ass! I am so sick and tired of people like you who think your better than everyone else just because you have to criticise them when they spell a damn word wrong! what the hell makes your pathetic sorry ass make you think your so damn perfect? You wipe your ass the same way everyone else does so stfu andstop criticisng everyone else just because they spell something srong and dont have perfect english. Doesnt mean they are not smarter than you. Or wel educated or well versed in whats going on in the world. I despise and hate people like you

      • Ken Hamilton

        Hey, if the shoe fits…

  • John McGready

    The state could try to garner support for SEPTA being no-strike by proposing it as a required condition for an additional MTA style sales tax (0.375 percent, IIRC) for SEPTA.

    Nothing like the prospect of more money on the table to motivate people…

  • Ms lewis

    I catch septa sometimes and I think they should have to strike if need be. Some of what they have to deal with is beyond ridiculous. Septa prices continuously increase so should there pay.

    • Ken Hamilton

      If they were a fully private company then I’d agree, but not when part of their wages come from the public teat, in the form of funding paid for by our taxes, technically we’re paying twice for the same ride.

  • septa worker

    I give up,
    Your not getting it,we’re already vested,they’re trying to take back what was already agreed on..
    Have a good evening.

  • chesterfield001

    Ask yourself folks why do you have all these different transits agencies in the northeast just nothin but porkbarrel