TWU Local 234, the largest of the transit unions representing SEPTA employees, has announced a strike authorization meeting for Sunday, October 26th at 3:00 p.m., meaning that the thousands of subway operators, bus drivers, mechanics and cashiers who are part of the union might not show up for work on Monday morning. Read more »
Don’t let the settlement with the engineers fool you: SEPTA could still face a strike in the near future. KYW reports:
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I can’t imagine what drove Brian Robinson to look for dates on the subway. In the age of Tinder and Match.com — when anything from a hook-up to a minivan is a click away — he prefers to meet women on New York’s subway.
In an aggressively weird profile in the New York Post, Robinson claims to have gone out with “about 500” women thanks to his “smooth” pick-up lines (which, in reality, seem to be plucked from Saved by the Bell drafts). He’s writing an advice book, How to Meet Women on the Subway, despite the fact that most reactions The Post witnessed during a ride-along were somewhere between almost pleasant and politely annoyed — although he did walk away with at least one business card.
Salon is not amused, and neither is Hollaback!, a nonprofit that works to end street harassment. I can see why, as Robinson — who mostly seems like a harmless nerd — comes off a little predatory when he says things like, “There’s always beautiful women down there — tons.”
But I live in Philadelphia, where I don’t have the luxury of being outraged by the Brian Robinsons of the world.
The union that represents SEPTA’s rail engineers says it has tentatively agreed to a five-year contract with the transit agency — averting a strike — but that some outstanding issues still remain.
Here’s the press release issued this afternoon by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, announcing a 13.32 percent raise for the rail workers:
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In our new feature, The Real Deal, we’re talking to people in Philadelphia who will only speak to us with a clear agreement of anonymity. In our controversial first installment, we spoke with a Philly cop. This time around, we sat down for margaritas with a longtime SEPTA employee, who has driven both buses and trolleys, to see what it’s really like out there on the streets.
With 40 hours a week inside of buses and trolleys, you are uniquely positioned to offer some thoughts on Philadelphia as a society. How are we doing?
I love Philly. I’m from here. And it’s a big city that is really a collection of neighborhoods. You see people fighting on the El, playing the “knockout game” on the buses, but there’s also an amazing amount of good. We tend to get marginalized by New York and DC people. But we’re just as passionate and good.
I rode a 7 a.m. train into town on Monday morning, and it was packed. Every part of it! I don’t often ride the regional rail into Center City at rush hour, so I was surprised by the number of people on the train. I had to stand! The conductor squeezed by me after taking my ticket.
This is apparently the case on lots of lines. The Inquirer reports today regional rail trains are packed because of increased ridership and the frequency which cars go out of service.
SEPTA says its weekend late-night rail service has been extended “indefinitely” — even though the $47,000 weekly cost tripled that of the previous “Nite Owl” bus service that was offered weekend overnights.
When I heard last week the reason SEPTA might shut down due to strike this winter — leaving tens of thousands of commuters stuck in the February cold — I was positively Iversonian in my response.
“Uniforms? We talkin’ about uniforms?”
SEPTA’s regional rail electrical workers accepted the terms of federal mediation. Engineers want to settle, but are balking at two provisions: The effective date of wage increases, and uniform requirements.
SEPTA engineers want simply to wear a vest. “We feel a shirt and additional outerwear would be appropriate,” SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams told the paper.
That doesn’t sound like an excessive demand — and in reality, it’s not — but it turns out there’s a lot more to this battle than meets the eye. It’s been going on for years.
Let’s forget the good news. There is ominous news about SEPTA, and we’ll focus on that.
So, yes: The bad news is that a complete SEPTA shutdown could come in February.
That’s what SEPTA told the Inquirer: While SEPTA will apply for a second 120-day extension of federal mediation with Regional Rail workers, if no deal is reached by February 13th there could be a complete walkout of SEPTA workers.
A former SEPTA custodian says he was fired for observing the Jewish high holy days. Romel McAlpin, who was hired in May of 2013, will have a one-day hearing before an arbitrator sometime in the future.
McAlpin is a member of the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ. Although not considered by mainstream Jews to be Jewish, the group observes some Jewish holidays.