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One Step Forward: One Possible SEPTA Strike Averted

Welcome to another version of the SEPTA Dance, as synonymous to Philadelphia as the Pennsylvania Polka is to Scranton. In the one step forward part of the movement, The Inquirer reports that a tentative deal has been reached between the Regional Rail Engineers and negotiators for SEPTA, with the sticking points pertaining to wage increases and uniform standards. As we mentioned yesterday in the two steps back portion, the engineers were kicking around that strike idea for February when the Presidential board overseeing the negotiations second term had expired.

This is good news for those who depend on Regional Rail service. It also worked out for the Engineers as well. They'll get a few pay raises once the contract is ratified in 30 days — 8% when it's approved and 3.5% next April. This deal only runs through June 2015, so expect to hear more about contract negotiations in about a years time.

As for the other star in the the SEPTA Strike twin-billing, the Transport Workers Union local 234 is holding a series of face-to-face meeting with SEPTA this week in the hopes of hammering out a deal. Some 5,000 workers are members of the TUW 234, which makes the tentative deal between the Engineers and SEPTA all the more important — it would avoid a mass shutdown of all public transit should the TUW 234 decide to walk out. It would be nice to avoid scenes like this from 1963:

· SEPTA, rail engineers reach tentative agreement [The Inquirer]