This is pretty serious if you ride on SEPTA in Center City or on the Regional transit offered by SEPTA throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.
SEPTA's police force could go on strike, soon, putting riders and employees in harm's way.
SEPTA Police Officers Could Strike on November 20
SEPTA's transit police officers could walk off the job at midnight on November 20, 2023, if they don't reach an employment agreement with SEPTA.
The Fraternal Order of Transit Police, Lodge 109, held a vote authorizing the strike in October, and their president says the vote was nearly unanimous among their 175-member union.
The authorization of a strike doesn't necessarily mean they'll walk off the job on November 20, but it is definitely possible.
SEPTA Police Strike Could Lead to Safety Concerns Across Philadelphia, Pa.
Of course, there have been a series of safety concerns on SEPTA's services in recent months on all service platforms.
A group of teens attacked a man on a SEPTA bus resulting in two people being shot in June. A rider was shot on a SEPTA platform in May. A bus driver, who was a 12-year veteran of the agency, was shot and killed by a 21-year-old suspect in Germantown in late October.
Those, of course, are just a handful of the incidents that have taken place with my riders saying they don't feel safe on SEPTA.
The President of SEPTA's largest union, Transit Worker Union 234, told the media they've asked the governor to bring in the National Guard.
"We are at the point where we need National Guard here," Brian Pollitt, the president of TWU 234 told Philadelphia TV Station 6 ABC earlier this fall.
Pollitt, a 33-year employee with SEPTA said he's never seen it this bad.
"The raping, the assaults, the robbery, the maliciousness that's going on our El's, our subways and our buses. It's atrocious."
SEPTA's Police Say They're Underpaid and Understaffed
The two sides have apparently made little progress towards a new contract since negotiations started nearly 6 months ago.
“We have met with multiple times with the mediator but this has not had any effect on the state of our talks thus far,” their President Omari Bervine told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We seem to be at an impasse.”
At the core of the Fraternal Order of Police's argument is that SEPTA doesn't pay their officers enough, and as a result, the organization has staffing issues when they leave for other agencies (like Amtrak, Temple, and the Philadelphia Police Department).
“It’s almost like we’ve become a training ground for other police departments. We train them up and then they get our well-trained officers," Bervine told WHYY.org this week.
Meanwhile, SEPTA has previously said they're committed to negotiating with the FOTP.
"SEPTA is committed to continuing a dialogue with the mediator and FOTP leadership to reach an agreement on a new contract," SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch told PhillyVoice.com.
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