SEPTA Strike Over

150px-SEPTA_text.svgBy: Billy BeerSlugger

So now that the SEPTA strike is over with Transportation Workers Union 234, expect an increase in fare’s soon.  SEPTA has stated that it was going to increase fare’s in 2010 just as it did in 2007.  How much you ask?  From what this article says about 10% increase in revenue for the fiscal year of 2011.

I guess we kind of knew that was going to happen though.  SEPTA Union workers strike, they get a raise, both sides make some concessions and ultimately they pass the buck onto the consumer.  Nevermind a portion of your tax money goes to SEPTA whether you use it or not, that’s besides the point.

So now for some thoughts, suggestions and wishful thinking:

1) How about 24 hour Weekend Service for subways and Regional Rail even at a limited schedule?

How much better would it be if you could get from Point A to Point B in Philadelphia after Midnight without having to take a cab, walk 100 blocks or ride a bike?  Insanely great!

How much more business would city bars and restaurants get from the outlying counties if there was even one train on every regional rail that took people home from the city say at 2:40am after the bars closed and giving people ample time to get to Market East, Suburban or 30th St Stations? I can’t tell you how many good times were abruptly averted by friends visiting who had to leave at 11:30 to make sure they got the last train home to Delco/Montco?  How many trips to the city were never had by people who don’t want to drive to the city because they would be drinking and don’t want to leave at 12pm to get the last train?

Give the people a reasonable way to get to and from Philadelphia to drink and be merry without having to drive or worry about getting home and you will see a city ripe with fresh faces on the weekends. I guarantee that.

2) How about a freaking rechargeable transit pass like every other city with a subway system has.  How about being able to pay with your credit/debit card at every station and or ticket/token dispenser?

Granted these things will cost money. Money to staff subways with police officers, money to pay the money hungry SEPTA employees who no doubt would welcome this as overtime.  I don’t know but if New York can do it and we’re pretty much New York’s J.V. team then I’m sure sooner or later we could pull this off.

SEPTA Super Sneaky Strike

150px-SEPTA_text.svgBy: Billy BeerSlugger

It was great of SEPTA’s TWU 234 workers to strike yesterday leaving hundreds of thousands of Philadelphian’s not only without a ride to work, school, doctors appointments etc, but also without leaving them with the proper amount of time to plan for alternate transportation. They struck at 3am in the morning so that it wouldn’t be announced on the 10 or 11 o’clock news or splashed on the front page of news sites before Philadelphian’s went to bed.  Which if you’re really trying to piss people off you’re going to sneak attack strike. Not only that but Tuesday, the day the strike began was an Election day.

Not that I don’t give the TWU a little bit of credit for sticking through the Philadelphia end of the World Series but not to inform your ridership at least the night before is downright dastardly. These people have jobs, scholastic careers and other necessary staples of life to attend to that count on SEPTA to get there. I’d love to see the attendance numbers for the thousands of Philadelphia school aged children that need a bus, subway or trolley to get to school.  These kids probably love the SEPTA strike because it effectively gives them a get out of school free card today. It’s hard enough to get these kids to go to school as it is without having them walk 4 miles. Lost in the news coverage is the kids who take SEPTA to school and as I always say to my friend who bangs a married chick with kids, “Think about the children.”.

Anyway, I’m not completely against Union’s.  My mom was a 30+ year member of the Communications Workers of America, my uncle is a high ranking SEPTA union leader though not the Union that’s striking (as there are 3 unions that serve SEPTA).  However, this is really a case of a Union holding a city hostage.  When my mom’s union went to the picket line you could at least still make phone calls. It’s pretty customary as well for the people that are striking to show up to a picket line in protest but these lazy sons of bitches, for the most part, are home watching cartoons. Though I did see a story that there was a picket line in front of the Fern Rock station.  Obviously they wouldn’t picket anywhere in Center City for fear of being heckled and laughed at.

Per a Union worker in this article

“We’re damned if we do, and we’re damned if we don’t,” said Harris. “The riding public is not educated on what we’re fighting for. Why should we work under stressful conditions without getting paid for it?”

Well sir, you are getting paid, maybe just not as much as you’d like to.  As for the stress of a job, join the club.  Without marginalizing the efforts of the workers who really do make SEPTA run, what about those workers in the subways averaging $53,000 a year to take $2 and press a button.  I wouldn’t wish that kind of stress on anyone.

Governor Rendell said the five-year contract spurned by TWU leaders called for a $1,250 signing bonus upon ratification, a 2.5 percent raise the second year, and a 3 percent raise in each of the next three years.  It also called for an increase in pension payments to workers and no increase in their health-insurance contributions.


By: Billy BeerSlugger

After reading my colleague Robby Ripchord’s article today I thought I would touch on SEPTA as well.  SEPTA Transportation Workers Union 324 voted unanimously to authorize a strike.  So now the riders of busses, trolleys and subways in Philadelphia are now subject to service interruptions should the Union decide to send it’s 5,000 plus workers to the picket line.

Coincidentally, (obviously not coincidental)  this strike threat is at the exact time that the World Series would be going on.  When tens of thousands of drunken people will come from all parts of the city and surrounding area to descend upon the South Philadelphia Sports Complexes.  Afterward these people will want a ride home.  If they can’t get home I can’t even imagine the carnage this city will endure as people flip over cars, light fires, climb slicked up lightpolls and generally destroy everything in sight.  One thing you don’t want to give a drunken Philadelphia sports fan, win or lose, is a reason to get completely angry and break shit.  And that’s if people can even get to the game. If people can;t get to the game there may be even more hell to pay.

SEPTA’s union does not want to increase their health care contributions from 1 to 4% and also are balking about a “wage freeze”. Which is a better term than “massive layoff”.  However, I doubt the TWU  will get much sympathy from the Philadelphia public on this when everyone else, including city employees are facing the same thing.

The union has been working without a contract since March which definitely gets good faith points when the negotiating begins.  The bad thing is that threatening a strike during a World Series is in effect extortion, definite buku negative good faith points.  As if you couldn’t decide to strike before or after the Phils are in the Series.  This is what they call a little bit of leverage.

I guess the good thing is that the regional rail is on a separate union(s) so that obviously still operates and people can get in and out of the city that way to partake in the Phillies Fever and also work. However, there is no regional rail stop in South Philly and unless you’re driving, taking a cab or have a bike, you’re hoofing it from City Hall to 1 Citizens Bank Way.

SEPTA and it’s Union do not see eye to eye on things and that’s fine, but strike after the Phils win the series or there may not be transit lines left to drive subways through if the drunken masses can’t get to or out of South Philly.  I’ll personally start whacking away at the Girard Ave exit on the Market-Fankford line.  They should have used some of that 1.31 million from the economic stimulus to redo that piece of shit anyway.  Consider it free labor.

Overall, while hundreds of thousands of people are out of work, TWU 234 says lets strike for better benefits and wages. Seems logical to me. Tell you what, lets have them strike and then fill most of their mindless jobs like the Subway Cashiers with people who do actually want to work.  I mean besides the people who actually fix busses, trolleys, trains and other technical things how hard could the rest of the jobs really fucking be?  Drive a bus, subway train or trolley? I mean as long as you don’t hit anyone or anything and make pickups at all the stops along the route then you’re golden baby.

Good article here.