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SEPTA Police Go On Strike; No Delays Expected

SEPTA claims they were given 20 minutes notice that officers would be going on strike.

 

Updated, 5:43 p.m.: SEPTA's nearly 260-member transit police force walked off the job around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21 after announcing a stalemate in contract talks, according to reports from NBC10 and the Inquirer.

No delays in commuter services are anticipated, SEPTA spokesperson Heather Redfern told Patch.

The officers of the Fraternal Order of Transit Police, Local 30, provide security on subway platforms and on mass transit commuting routes throughout the region, according to Philly.com. However, most calls for service in Bucks and Montgomery counties are handled by local municipal police departments.

At an afternoon press conference streamed on 6abc.com, Richard Maloney, SEPTA’s director of public affairs, told the media Philadelphia, suburban and Amtrak police, and members of the a private security firm hired by SEPTA will be patrolling and responding to calls on SEPTA subways, regional rail lines, buses and trolleys until a settlement has been reached and transit officers return to the job.

Maloney also said at the press conference the regional transit agency was given 20 minutes notice before the strike began. “Today’s action was a surprise,” he added.

The transit police have been working without a contract since April 2011, their last contract expired on March 30 of last year, according to NBC10 and Philly.com.

"We haven't had a contract since," a Fraternal Order spokesman told Philly.com. "They won't give us anything. They're insulting us when it comes to the stuff we're asking for. Real basic things, a modest increase in the pension."

The Fraternal Order of Transit Police is asking for a 2 percent increase in the pension, according to Philly.com. But a SEPTA management spokeswoman, Jerri Williams, said that the Fraternal Order receive one of the most lucrative pensions. SEPTA established a pattern of contract increases with its other unions, and what the Fraternal Order is asking for is higher than that pattern, according to Williams, and that is why SEPTA has rejected their requests.

Original Post, 4:22 p.m.: SEPTA transit police officers walked off the job around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday and went on strike after announcing a stalemate in contract talks, according to reports from NBC10 and the Inquirer.

The officers of the Fraternal Order of Transit Police, Local 30, provide security on subway platforms and on mass transit commuting routes throughout the region, according to Philly.com.

SEPTA officials told NBC10 that there is a contingency plan in place and that officials are currently meeting to discuss what the next step will be. SEPTA held a news conference at 4 p.m. to discuss the plan. (See the video here.)

Both news sources said the transit police have been working without a contract since April 2011, since the last contract expired on March 30 of last year.

"We haven't had a contract since," a Fraternal Order spokesman told Philly.com. "They won't give us anything. They're insulting us when it comes to the stuff we're asking for. Real basic things, a modest increase in the pension."

The Fraternal Order of Transit Police, which represents more than 200 transit police, is asking for a 2 percent increase in the pension, according to Philly.com. But a SEPTA management spokeswoman, Jerri Williams, said that the Fraternal Order receive one of the most lucrative pensions. SEPTA established a pattern of contract increases with its other unions, and what the Fraternal Order is asking for is higher than that pattern, according to Williams, and that is why SEPTA has rejected their requests.

Philadelphia police will be on hand to respond to any calls for service on SEPTA subways, buses and trolleys, according to a report from the Associated Press.

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