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SEPTA union votes to strike — but not yet

Members of SEPTA's largest union authorized a work stoppage Sunday afternoon.Wiki Commons

The union representing the largest group of SEPTA workers voted Sunday to strike, but the work stoppage will not commence immediately.

In a statement released Sunday evening, the Transport Workers Union Local 234 announced that at least 1,500 workers voted at a special strike authorization meeting Sunday afternoon. "Members voted unanimously to authorize union leadership to call a strike at SEPTA if necessary," according to the statement.

Union officials will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. today to discuss their future plans. The union represents about 5,000 workers, which includes bus, train and trolley operators, mechanics and cashiers.

SEPTA officials stuck to their original statement, which said "The parties continue to meet in negotiations to reach an agreement. ... we have been given no indication that a work stoppage is imminent. A Service Interruption Plan will be release if and when the situation changes."

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Union officials point at two main sticking points in negotiations: healthcare premiums and pension compensation. Union workers are refusing to pay 10 percent of their healthcare premiums while management pays 5 percent, and workers don't want their pension capped at $2,500 a month while management has no cap.

The union members have been working under an expired contract since March.

 
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