By Dustin Slaughter
Philadelphia’s largest public transit union, TWU Local 234, has called for a “strike authorization meeting” on Sunday, October 26th, according to a memo obtained by Philly Mag‘s Victor Fiorello.
The memorandum states in part:
The day of reckoning is fast approaching. Despite the Local’s best efforts, SEPTA’s negotiators continue to march to the anti-union tune of Board Chairman Pasquale Deon.
SEPTA’s latest proposal would freeze our pension benefits at current levels for five years, require all TWU members to contribute 10% of the premium for health insurance, which is approximately $2,636/year for family coverage, and force us to eat substantially higher co-payments for office visits, hospital services, and prescription benefits. Meanwhile, the Authority’s offer would limit our wage increases to 6% over five years (0, 1%, 1%, 2%, 2%). SEPTA’s proposals are non-starters. They simply show that SEPTA is daring Local 234 members to strike.
The union claims that SEPTA is waging “classism” in its negotiations, and that transit supervisors feel they are entitled to higher pensions – $8,000 per month compared to union members’ $2,500 cap, specifically – in addition to 5% wage increases while workers will only see a 1% increase in pay over the next five years.
“The strike is a weapon of last resort,” the memorandum goes on to state.