Nov 21, 2023 - News

SEPTA Transit Police threaten to strike

Illustration of a police uniform standing with no person inside it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

SEPTA Transit Police hope a last-minute contract deal can be reached to avert a strike.

Driving the news: The transit police union was locked in negotiations with management for hours over the weekend and resumed talks Monday after the deadline to reach a deal passed Sunday.

Why it matters: A strike could further erode public confidence in SEPTA as it looks to assure riders they're safe using the transit system amid an uptick in violence.

Flashback: The agency and Fraternal Order of Transit Police Lodge 109, which represents 170 police officers, have been in discussions since April, per the Inquirer.

  • Union members voted last month to authorize a strike after more than a dozen negotiation sessions failed to produce a deal. A state mediator joined in September to try to resolve the impasse, per the Inquirer.

The latest: The transit police union has said it wants salaries commensurate with what other officers make in the area. Transit officers make an average of $115,00 annually, including overtime, per the Inquirer.

  • The transit agency said it has offered a 13% increase over three years, plus a $3,000 bonus to avert a strike and a $2,500 retention bonus for officers who can retire.

What they're saying: Union president Omari Bervine told NBC10 that there was a "disconnect" between the deals SEPTA presented publicly and behind closed doors.

  • The union finally got its wish to negotiate directly with SEPTA general manager Leslie Richards, per the Inquirer.

The other side: SEPTA says it's still optimistic a deal can be reached.

  • It would rely on mutual aid from other police departments to avoid any interruptions in service if officers walk off the job, per 6ABC.

What to watch: SEPTA is expected to propose a new offer this morning and the union has agreed to hold off striking until midday, the union said in a news release.


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