PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Day two of the SEPTA strike and it promises to be another grueling commute in Philadelphia.
Negotiators are working to make sure the strike doesn’t go into day three. Both sides will try again to hammer out a new deal.
SEPTA released a statement overnight saying they are making significant progress, but with an agreement not in place, talks will resume again.
Congressman Bob Brady has been brought in to help move things along. He tells Eyewitness News that the two sides have been talking through a mediator.
SEPTA and union workers resumed negotiations late Tuesday after about 5,000 members of the union went on strike earlier in the day.
The main sticking points, Eyewitness News is told, are work rules, healthcare benefits and the biggest issue of all, pensions.
The strike has sidelined SEPTA’s buses, trolleys and subways, leaving hundreds of thousands scrambling to find other ways to work and school.
And besides that, getting to the polls on Election Day has become a concern.
Congressman Brady is worried that the extra minutes or hours it now takes to get people to and from work will leave little time for people to get out and vote.
“Before you leave your home, you still have to get up an hour or two earlier to make sure you get to work and kids get to school, and if that hour or two early is before 7 a.m., we’re in trouble. And I don’t know how long it takes people to get home from work, but I know if it’s another hour or so longer, you might not be home by 8 o clock.”
Brady concluded, “It’s an inconvenience and it scares me.”
Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is also concerned about voter turnout.
“This will hold down the turnout in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia area. I guess that would be good for Donald Trump. Who knows? A strike like this usually gets settled. Now, usually. When I was governor, there were two SEPTA strikes and we settled them both within 12 hours of the union going out on strike. I don’t know, but if it exists until next Tuesday, it’s real problem and a real plus for Donald Trump.”
A real problem indeed. One commuter says, “My commute normally takes a half hour to 45 minutes. It’s taken now, sometimes up to two hours.”
Another adds, “Its a burden to us all. So hopefully they come together and they will work something out.”
SEPTA does have a contingency plan in case the strike approaches Election Day. The transit agency says it will seek legal action if the strike is still going on come Tuesday.