Strike_1 The El may be grounded and the buses tucked away in their sheds, but there was plenty of action at the Bridge & Pratt terminal today.

Picketers from TWU Local 234 were chanting, passing cars were honking in support, and two men standing across the street were doing their best to pick a fight.

"You work for your rights, and that's cool, but I've got to get downtown," screamed John Tillman, who runs a moving company. "I've got three jobs today, and I can't move myself."

A woman walking the picket line, got into it with him, arguing how her health care shouldn't be cut - SEPTA wants workers to pay 20 percent of their premiums.

This argument was not moving Tillman. "I just wish you all would get back to work. You've shut the city down."

There was the possibility he could catch a ride with his buddy, Ben Council, 31, who was standing across the street, yelling, too.

Council's station wagon was needed for other chores - like ferrying two young women to Center City. Women who hadn't managed to notice that the buses and El and subways stopped rolling, stranding 400,000 people dependent on public transportation.

"Center City, $15," Council informed them. Deal.

Down the street, business at the Liberty Bell restaurant was as still as the grill.

"Yeah, this happens and I get hurt," said owner Diamandis Diamantas, 45. "Every time they go on strike, we pay."

"My father before me. He had this place since 1976."

"'74!" his older brother, Mike, corrected.

The three had time to chat in the kitchen - at high noon, when the Frankford Avenue place is typically twice as busy. So did Diamandis's wife, Gina, a waitress.

Mike's cell went off.

"You mean there's a Septa strike? No!"

"They're running in my neighborhood," said Manny Iyala, 46, washing dishes. "On my street we've got horses and buggies."

By the front of the restaurant, a counterman named Gus, watched quietly. The place smelled of cigarettes and rye toast. A customer - I didn't get her name - complained how she'd been waiting too long for a friend to stop by with a ride.

"Lotta people didn't know they were on strike 'til this morning," the woman said.

Gus nodded. "Yeah, I've see people walking up the steps like there was nothing different. Then I see them walking back down. They must not listen to the radio."

If you've missed your bus or trolley - and I'm speaking more emotionally than literally - check out Albert Yee's Flickr set of Septa shots from several months of lurking around public transportation with a camera around his neck. They're here. And they're pretty slick.

Posted 10/31/2005 02:22:59 PM

Not that it was fortunate, but I lost that job in the city at a good time... I started this one today, the same time I would be stranded at home with my old job. I wouldn't have a way to get down there... a way that would be economical like SEPTA, anyway. I might learn to like another job, but right now, I would be happier to have to find another way down there this week than having to go through the process of getting accustomed to a new job... Anyway, I hope everyone gets to where they need to go, and without too much of a headache. That should shed some light on the situation :)

Daniel Rubin
Posted 10/31/2005 02:49:17 PM

Good to see you're back in the cube farm, Jason.

Posted 10/31/2005 03:10:58 PM

That couldn't be any more accurate! Not a bad looking cube though. It's clean (at my job in Philly, they had a box full of computer parts in a corner of my cube that never left... plus I have two trashcans this time), it's spacious (I can put my feet on the desk and lean back with no problems), but I have no view whatsoever (at my job in Philly, I was in a cube but when I turned around, I saw William Penn and pretty much the entire skyline... from the 19th floor, I could look down on the Reading Terminal Market [although, not much to see from that height], check out the gradual discoloration of the sky from blue to brown due to pollution, and see a whole bunch of interesting stuff, like the Cira Center in the far distance... now I just have the cube across from me, which is empty). I need some things (like a whiteboard) but I'll get used to it. This fluorescent light is killing me though.

That Dude
Posted 10/31/2005 04:33:19 PM

Just privatize Septa and all problems will be solved. Ofcourse, this will never happen.

Posted 10/31/2005 05:56:04 PM

riiight, privatization would solve _everything_

Posted 10/31/2005 06:09:59 PM

Privitizing Septa would cause more problems then you think. It you did that then there could be even bigger fair hikes then you have now. I wish the riding public would understand that although you have to try and find a way to get to work, WE DON"T WORK! WE DO NOT GET PAID!

Posted 10/31/2005 07:49:29 PM

THEN WORK AND GET PAID!! Paying for healthcare is inevitable. You can ask for raises but sharing some of the burden is inevitable. If you did, people might listen to your other grievances. You are hurting US, the people who ride your buses and trains everyday NOT Faye Moore and her $195k salary. My healthcare goes up every year faster than my salary and my job doesn't even depend on taxpayer subsidies. There's a problem in this country but SEPTA isn't going to solve it.

Posted 10/31/2005 08:42:35 PM

So are you saying that us taking a 20 percent paycut is fair. How bout you take a 20 percent paycut with us? Is it envitable for you to work for years at your place then take a paycut like that? You wouldn't give in to that would you! I think not! Your right There is a problem in this country. And no SEPTA won't solve it. But our union cares to stand up to it. We are lucky for that! You just go to work and get paid your inevitable. WE won't let it happen. WE Will not!

Posted 10/31/2005 09:23:18 PM

The Democratic party always talks about how this country needs a universal health plan (For the record, I agree with this). Unions, which are the backbone of the Democratic party, never seem to want to pay for any of their healthcare. Kind of funny to me. The unions have very little support in their ridiculous demands that they pay nothing for healthcare. That's why their latest PR campaign is focusing on how SEPTA is backing out of its earlier "promise". Organized labor continues to destroy Philadelphia.

Posted 10/31/2005 09:59:19 PM

Listen buddy if you are reading it right you are not taking a 20% paycut but pay 20% of your premimum. In the new agreement just posted today you would get a 9% raise over 3 years. That's pretty generous since I don't even get a standard of living increase.

Posted 11/01/2005 11:04:21 AM

Look, I just read that the most union workers would pay towards their healthcare is $3 to $12 per week depending on family size and chosen health care plan. And that the bus drivers (which has the largest amount of union workers) make up to $21.54 an hour. I make about that an hour and I pay $125 a week in healthcare premiums not counting co-pays. That's $250 in benes a paycheck....I'm not feeling a lot of sympathy when I'm walking 2 miles to wait in line for an hour to get a train to work.

Posted 11/01/2005 02:25:26 PM

I really wish you people would grow up and stop pretending that you actually do something special. Your lucky to even have a job with the lousy service you provide. Listen, jerks, everybody pays health care, suck it up, and join the real world. Just remember that most of us have jobs that depend on us getting results. We don't have the luxuary of doing a lousy job and still getting paid for it!!!!!!!!!

Posted 11/01/2005 02:48:00 PM

Lou, you have an email address that seems to belong to a teacher. The argument you make sounds a lot like the same that teachers hear. How about some love for fellow union members?

Posted 11/01/2005 07:18:21 PM

You drive a bus for 27 years through some of the worst parts of the city, in the wee hours of the morning. I've watched my father do it - and have to work a part time job because the pay from SEPTA is THAT good. I'm not saying they shouldn't pay anything, but get the facts, they've given up COLA's for years, among other things. It's a crappy job, and if they give up the benefits, what are they left with? And I believe you meant luxury, not luxuary.

Posted 11/02/2005 11:40:52 AM

I went to college in Philadelphia for 4 years and dealt with the dirty, "get of my face" attitude of SEPTA. I now live in Chicago and was planning to go to Philadelphia for a personal trip, but not any more. No train service from the airport, paying lots of money for cabs in the city…Philadelphia and especially SEPTA needs to get its act together. You've lost my money.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Load comments