Cynical Synapse

Wed, 04 Nov 2009

TWU Local 234 Thinks SEPTA is Wall Street or Something

Filed under: Behavior, Government, Politics, Transit, Unions — cynicalsynapse @ 7:03 pm

TWU members pass out picket signs

Not too long after the last Philadelphia World Series game finished, Transport Workers Union Local 234 went on strike. Picket lines went up at city transit division subway stations and bus terminals about 3 AM on November 3rd. This leaves some suburban Philly bus routes and the commuter rail lines running. The last time the union walked off the job was for 5 days in 2005.

Talks between the TWU local and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have been going on for some time. Without a contract, the TWU was threatening to strike. They kept their promise to wait until after the Series, however. TWU pickets went up at the 69th Street Terminal the morning of the 4th, essentially shutting down service on the non-striking suburban Victory Division lines.

Get back to work

The union has been working without a contract since spring. While I’m not a pro-union guy, I do support unions having contracts. I also believe in fairness to workers and management, union workplace or not. Since I went to Villanova University my freshman year and truly enjoyed Philly’s mass transit system, I have an interest in SEPTA. I took regular advantage of Philly’s transit system to get to New Jersey where the drinking age was 18 at the time. But that’s another story.

Like issues facing many unions in today’s economy, maybe SEPTA is asking for onerous concessions. Well, no, not really. SEPTA must want reduced pension costs then. No, no they don’t. So, what are the agregious contract terms union members find so burdensome, then? SEPTA is offering a mere 11% in pay increases and increased pension contributions of 11%, with no increase in members’ 1% health insurance premiums during the 4 year contract. On top of that, SEPTA offered a $1,200 signing bonus.

Fat cat unions

SEPTA’s offer is unacceptable, why? Well, because the union wants 4% pay raises every year along with a 33% increase in pension contributions. Sheesh! These guys make about $52,000 a year!

Even Pennsylvania’s Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D) tried to get the two sides to agree. Concerning SEPTA’s offer, he said, “Whose pension has been increased in this day and age?” Even Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter (D) thinks union demands are unreasonable. When Democratic politicians think the TWU is all ate up, they should take a look in the mirror. Those clowns should be happy they have jobs!

Just one question. Gov. Rendell says the contract with TWU Local 234 will be done with no increase in fares. So, where’s that 11% pay raise and 11% pension increase coming from? Why, it must be from taxes. Voters should wonder what tax increase is coming next. And then they can thank a transit worker.

Blog Surpasses 10,000 Hits

Filed under: Uncategorized — cynicalsynapse @ 6:58 pm

10,000 hits

It might not seem like a big deal, but Cynical Synapse surpassed 10,000 hits today. I want to thank my regular readers and encourage occasional passers by to become recurring visitors.

I like comments on my posts. Unlike some TV or radio talk show hosts, I don’t have a problem with opposing views. Nonetheless, I do consider personal attacks on posters and commenters as bad form. I’m also always ready to take suggestions and feedback by email.

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