By Steve Tawa and Natasha Brown
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — SEPTA says it has filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to immediately end the four day long TWU Local 234 strike, which involves about 4,700 members of the Transport Workers Union Local 234. On Friday night, the injunction was not granted and the judge said it’s not necessary at this point, and they will continue the case Monday morning, with more oral arguments and testimony.
Judge Linda Carpenter heard oral arguments for two hours and broke them into two important elements, hearing first on SEPTA’s claim that the strike presents a clear and present danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public. She also heard briefly if the strike continues to persist on Tuesday, whether voters could be disenfranchised, unable to get to their polling places, as they scramble trying to get to and from work.
SEPTA lawyer Robert Hawkins says it’s causing people to miss critical medical appointments and more than 50,000 public school students don’t have buses subways and trolleys to get to their classes.
He also referred to a State Supreme Court ruling from a Pittsburgh case in which a union was ordered back to work in a transit strike. SEPTA wants the judge to do likewise, and issue an injunction.
The union released a statement following the lawsuit, promising to fight the injunction “tooth and nail.” TWU Local 234 lawyer Ralph Teti says the facts do not support a court injunction, adding SEPTA’s move undermines the collective bargaining process.
The transit agency noted in the lawsuit “that the strike has caused people to miss critical medical appointments; is making it impossible for some disabled residents to get to facilities for specialty care, get assistance with fundamental life-care matters and training critical to their efforts towards independence; is causing students to miss school; and presents a risk to citizens’ right to vote in the Nov. 8 election.”