PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — SEPTA workers are officially on strike, and some are beginning to wonder could the strike affect Election Day in Philadelphia?
In a statement, SEPTA said in part:
‘We are hopeful that a tentative agreement will be reached before Election Day. If we foresee an agreement will not come to pass, SEPTA intends to seek to enjoin the strike for November 8th to ensure that the strike does not prevent any voters from getting to the polls and exercising their right to vote.’
Elected officials expressed frustration over their powerlessness to break the gridlock in contract talks.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says, “It’s frustrating because they’re not city employees, and it’s not a city agency, so it’s difficult to have a direct input into the process if you’ve not been asked.”
Even Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf admits his role is limited in what can be done.
“This is something that is just bad for everybody and it has to end.”
Bus, trolley and subway lines for almost 1 million commuters are not operating, with over 5,000 union members on strike.
“It’s crazy, man. I got to take my mom and sister to work, it’s really inconvenient. I have to go to school,” said one commuter.
“Let’s get this done. We’ve got to vote. It’s a very important election.”
For now, State Representative Joanna McClinton says Pennsylvania Democrats are focusing on the task at hand.
“We are going to make sure that the election turnout is not dictated by what may or may not be happening between SEPTA and the Transit Workers Union.”
The last time SEPTA experienced a strike was in 2009. It lasted six days.
Election Day is one week away.