SEPTA Contract Negotiations Continue Friday - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

SEPTA Contract Negotiations Continue Friday

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Philadelphia, PA -

The clock is ticking towards a possible shutdown of nearly all mass transit in Southeast Pennsylvania.

Fox 29's Drew Dickman reports.

SEPTA and union leaders met Thursday night to try and work out a deal before their final contract expires at midnight Sunday.

The meeting was behind closed doors, but a spokesperson for the union said a lot of progress was made.

With the deadline looming, nearly everyone could be looking at major headaches come Monday.

Buses, subways and trolleys in the city and suburbs could all be out of commission if SEPTA employees don't get a new contract soon.

The Regional Rail, Para-Transit and University Loop would still be in service, but likely more crowded.

"I'm going to have to rethink how I go to work in the morning," SEPTA rider Troy Martin-O'Shea said.

TWU 234's City Transit and Suburban Division contracts have already expired.

A third contract runs out at the end of the weekend.

Another union that oversees the Norristown High Speed Line, also had their deal with SEPTA expire this week.

Riders said a work stoppage would be crippling.

"It would mess me up completely, because I don't have no way of getting to work," Tawyana Mack said.

"I would have to take a cab every day, which would cost 10 to 15 dollars per ride," Julia Brodsky said.

According to TWU 234's website, SEPTA's offer fell short on salary, pensions and health benefits.

The author of the post on the website says the proposal "should make your blood boil."

"I think they should be thankful for what they have, because you have people out here making minimum wage, 7,8, 9 dollars an hour, can't afford to put food on their own table and these guys are crying making 24, 27 dollars an hour. I'd say go ahead, strike," SEPTA rider Matt Scakal said.

At this point there has been no vote to authorize a strike.

If no agreement is reached over the weekend, employees could still come to work without a contract.

That was the case in 2009, before a six day city transit strike eventually occurred.

A SEPTA spokesperson said progress was made tonight during an informal meeting attended by SEPTA management and TWU Local 234 negotiation team leaders. A possible two-year contract is being discussed. Talks will continue tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. at an undisclosed location.

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