By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS) – While a Regional Rail strike is off the table at least until February, after an executive order by the President, labor talks have not gone anywhere for months with unions involved in city transit lines, as well as suburban buses and trolleys.

The last face to face negotiations between SEPTA and Transport Workers Local 234 was April 6th in attempts to reach a deal on a two-year contract.

They disagree over how much workers should contribute to health-plan cost increases.

There was follow-up correspondence in May when SEPTA’s Chief Labor Relations Officer Stephanie Deiger wrote: rather than negotiate, the union was ‘bombarding the Authority with detailed requests for health care information.’

TWU President Willie Brown wrote back that’s because SEPTA decided to make health care cost sharing a central part of the deal (see related story), and it ‘wasn’t coughing up information’ on medical benefit costs.

Local 234, SEPTA’s largest union, representing about 5,000 bus, subway and trolley operators. It has been working under terms of a contract that expired in mid-March. The TWU has yet to take a strike authorization vote.

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