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Possible Regional Rail Strike Still Months Away As SEPTA, Trainmen Reach Impasse

(File photo by Mike DeNardo)

(File photo by Mike DeNardo)

Brad Segall Brad Segall
Brad Segall is the award-winning Suburban Bureau chief at KYW...
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By Brad Segall

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Negotiations between Septa and the union representing the engineers on the transit agency’s Regional Rail lines have reached an impasse.

But riders needn’t worry about a work stoppage — at least for now.

The National Mediation Board, which has been overseeing talks between the two sides, says those negotiations have broken down and it’s ending its efforts to broker an agreement.

The board is suggesting binding arbitration.  The union says it would accept it, but the transit agency says it will not.

The next step is the creation of a presidential board to try to resolve the dispute.

“The BLET (Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen) will have to wait at least 270 days before this process is complete,” notes Septa spokeswoman Jerri Williams.  “That means that a possible work stoppage on the Regional Rails would not occur until sometime in January.”

She says Septa has offered significant wage increases and has no plans to touch the pension plan.  The engineers have been without a new contract since 2010.