Pennsylvania governor to Obama: Help end Philadelphia transit strike

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett speaks at a news conference on the Penn State campus in State College. Credit: Reuters
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett speaks at a news conference on the Penn State campus in State College.
Credit: Reuters

Pennsylvania’s Republican governor called on President Barack Obama on Saturday to intervene to end a transit strike in the greater Philadelphia area and force the two sides to negotiate.

The move by Governor Tom Corbett came hours after about 440 engineers and electricians who operate trains that connect Philadelphia and its suburbs walked off the job.

The strike began at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, when a mandatory 30-day cooling off period expired in contract talks between the workers’ unions and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

The 13 regional rail lines stopped by the strike normally provide about 126,000 trips per weekday, with service stretching from the city’s northern suburbs to Wilmington, Delaware.

The strike will not affect Philadelphia’s subways, buses and other forms of mass transit that make up the bulk of the local transportation authority’s system.

Corbett said he asked Obama to convene a Presidential Emergency Board, which would require the striking engineers and electrical workers to return to the job and force both sides back to the negotiating table.

“The people of Philadelphia and the surrounding region expect and deserve a safe and efficient rail system to get them to work, medical appointments, school and recreation,” Corbett said in a statement.

If the Democratic president intervenes in the dispute by creating an emergency board, it could prevent workers from striking for up to 240 days during negotiations.

A White House representative declined to immediately comment on Corbett’s request.

The strike is expected to be less disruptive to Philadelphia area residents this weekend than it would be if it continues until Monday. The rail lines that have been shut down would serve about 48,000 riders on a typical Saturday.

“Be patient, we’re trying to get back to work,” Stephen Bruno, a vice president with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen which is one of the unions representing the striking workers, said at a news conference on Saturday.

Pension benefits and wages were the main sticking point in the negotiations, said SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams.

The workers have gone without a contract since 2009.

“We’re shocked and flabbergasted that they took this move,” Williams said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Thousands protest in New York over Eric Garner…

The Reverend Al Sharpton led thousands of chanting but peaceful activists in a march across Staten Island on Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner.

International

Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated.

National

SpaceX rocket terminated in Texas test flight

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket suffered an anomaly shortly after launch on a test flight, triggering its automatic termination system.

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

Music

Arcade Fire concert review, Massachusetts, Aug. 19

Arcade Fire take the opposite approach of "Shut up and play the hits," and it works in their favor on the "Reflektor" tour.

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…