Dear Willie Brown: Don’t Mess Up the Election


Dear Willie Brown:

I’ve got a favor to ask. You’ve waited a long time to lead TWU 234 on strike — the 4,700 members of your union who work for SEPTA have been without a contract since March, and they’ve stayed at both their posts and at the negotiating table since then. That’s admirable.

Now your membership has decided it’s time to strike. Well, not right now, and not this week. Maybe next week.  Maybe even Monday, Nov. 3.

That’s a really bad idea.

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The Pilot of Beverly Hills, 90210 Has a SEPTA Bus In It


The pilot of Beverly Hills, 90210 aired on October 4th of 1990. It opened with twins Brandon and Brenda Walsh adjusting to life in Beverly Hills. The opening montage also introduced freshman David Silver, popular girl Kelly Taylor, her ex-boyfriend, Steve Sanders—and one character, Andrea Zuckerman, who arrived at West Beverly High on the bus.

Specifically, a SEPTA bus. It may say WEST BEVERLY HILLS TRANSIT, but that color scheme and ‘S’ logo are unmistakeable.

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Union President: No SEPTA Strike This Week

Willie Brown

TWU Local 234 president Willie Brown

Transit Workers Union Local 234 president Willie Brown said there won’t be a SEPTA strike this week, despite the unanimous strike authorization vote by the union on Sunday. He did say the two sides were as far apart as “California and Pennsylvania” — and that he’d make a decision on whether to strike later in the week.

After some cajoling by a reporter, Brown did agree to give riders a 24-hour notice before striking, avoiding a situation like the surprise 3 a.m. Tuesday strike in November 2009. Brown updated reporters on his side of the contract impasse at a press conference at TWU Local 234’s headquarters on North Second Street Tuesday afternoon.

Previously, Brown has said the best day to strike is on a Monday. He didn’t make any explicit promises beyond Friday, but with his 24-hour notice period it seems unlikely there will be a strike until at least Monday, November 3rd.

Brown blamed SEPTA for the sides being so far apart. “This is not about economics, unlike past contracts,” he said. “It’s about ego.” Brown said the union would accept binding arbitration if SEPTA were to accept it. The union has been working without a contract since March.

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SEPTA Union Votes Unanimously to Authorize Strike

Here’s the scary news for travelers: TWU 234, the union that represents most of SEPTA’s workforce, has voted to authorize a strike.

The better news: It won’t happen quite yet.

The union released a news release on Sunday afternoon: “Members of TWU Local 234 turned out in large numbers for a union meeting in Philadelphia today, with at least 1,500 in attendance.  Members voted unanimously to authorize union leadership to call a strike at SEPTA if necessary.” TWU president Willie Brown will hold a press conference on negotiations at 4 p.m. Monday.

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SEPTA Won’t Strike Monday

Although SEPTA union workers are expected to take a strike authorization vote on Sunday, the union is not expected to strike on Monday.

Transit Workers Union Local 234 head Willie Brown plans to call a news conference Monday at 4 p.m. to discuss the union workers’ dissatisfaction with SEPTA’s offer. The primary sticking points are health care and pensions.

“Our team has been working to reach an agreement that our members deserve,” Brown said in a statement. “But so far, management has been unwilling to reach a reasonable compromise on pensions, health care and other issues that are of serious concern to our membership.”

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SEPTA’s Biggest Union Could Strike On Monday

Photo | Ben Schumin.

Photo | Ben Schumin.

[Update 3:29 p.m. Oct. 24] TWU is believed to be unlikely to strike on Monday, but there will be a strike vote on Sunday and a press conference on Monday at 4 p.m.

[Original] 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 »

5 New York Subway Pick-Up Tips That Will Never Work on SEPTA


I can’t imagine what drove Brian Robinson to look for dates on the subway. In the age of Tinder and — 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.

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Engineers, SEPTA Reach Agreement

Septa regional rail train

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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[UPDATED] The Real Deal: A SEPTA Bus Driver Speaks Anonymously

real-deal-400x400In 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.

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