PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After reaching a tentative agreement one week ago on a new contract averting a possible SEPTA strike, some Transport Workers Union Local 234 members are apparently still not happy with the proposed deal. Union members are voting Friday to ratify the proposed contract agreement with SEPTA, but with not all demands being met, many are threatening to vote against the new deal.
TWU president Willie Brown took to YouTube Thursday night to address the nearly 5,000 SEPTA workers that make up the union. He says there has been a tremendous amount of misinformation being spread on social media about the contract agreements.
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Under the proposed two-year contract, union workers will receive 3% raises for each year of the contract, pandemic hazard pay bonuses and parental leave provisions, as well as Juneteenth as a paid holiday.
Not all of the union’s demands were met in the tentative agreement and now with members voting to ratify the contract Friday, the union president wants his members to vote freely but armed with the facts.
“When you vote again brothers and sisters, vote for yourself, vote your conscience, vote common sense. If your life is better now that you’ve seen this contract, then we ask you to vote yes,” Brown said. “I’ll do whatever you tell me to do, and I’m hoping you vote yes, but if you feel this is not beneficial for you and your family, then you have every right to vote no. But I’m asking you to use common sense, look at the contract, look at the gains, look at the economic times, and I’m asking you to vote yes to this contract.”READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni To Speak With Media Following Loss To New York Giants
SEPTA ridership is still at 47% of pre-pandemic levels with continued losses of $1 million.
Sticking points for some members are:
- SEPTA says the agency can’t afford guaranteed pay hikes for more than two years
- SEPTA will not be providing increased survivor benefits to families of workers who died of COVID-19
- Many SEPTA security issues were left unaddressed
When asked what happens if the majority of members now reverse course and don’t agree to ratify the proposed contract Friday, they say that’s a situation SEPTA has never dealt with before, so not sure of what would happen next.MORE NEWS: Officials Hold 'People Over Politics' Press Conference To Call For Changes In Rules For Pennsylvania Politicians
The voting continues through 7 p.m. Friday.