Now that Septa has a tentative agreement with its Regional Rail engineers, talks are resuming with the transit agency’s biggest union, representing bus, subway, and trolley workers.
Both sides met Monday. SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams calls meeting “productive” and Steve Bruno, Vice President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers says it was “fairly decent.”
Regional Rail employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen walked off the job in June, but were forced back one day later, after a presidential emergency board was convened.
SEPTA announced Sunday that hearings on the labor dispute will take place next week before an emergency board, established by President Barrack Obama.
An executive order signed by President Obama Saturday forces train engineers back to work.
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.
Now the question is whether the next step is cementing a deal, dealing with a job action, or continuing in limbo.
SEPTA and TWU Local 234 officials resumed negotiations Sunday morning, after both sides reported serious progress on Friday and said they were close to a deal.
Now, there has been a significant change in the tone of the negotiations, and any deal that was on the table is now in jeopardy.
It’s back to the bargaining table for SEPTA and Transport Workers Union Local 234 Sunday morning.
Septa says it needs $6.5 billion over the next ten years to improve crumbling railroad bridges, outdated rail cars, and substations that are 80 years old.
A SEPTA spokeswoman says the transit agency wasn’t expecting the state legislature to approve transportation funding before the end of the state’s fiscal year, June 30th.
The main issue for the bus fleet is keeping the air conditioning going, says SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams.
SEPTA is requiring all it’s rail engineers to wear fluorescent green and yellow vests when operating trains, saying it’s for safety and security reasons. It’s something the engineer’s union doesn’t like.
A CBS 3 I-Team investigation revealed that cell phone thefts rose 31 percent last year on SEPTA routes, prompting the transit authority to begin warning riders how to protect themselves.