Tuesday, May 26, 2015

SEPTA railroad engineers authorize strike

At Suburban Station, a long line of commuters waits for the next Regional Rail train during the last SEPTA strike on Nov. 4, 2009. Upstairs, many waited in long lines for platform access. (KRISTON J. BETHEL / Staff Photographer)
At Suburban Station, a long line of commuters waits for the next Regional Rail train during the last SEPTA strike on Nov. 4, 2009. Upstairs, many waited in long lines for platform access. (KRISTON J. BETHEL / Staff Photographer)

By a 166-2 vote, SEPTA railroad engineers have authorized a strike, which could occur as early as June 14, unless President Obama appoints a board to investigate the long-running labor dispute.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, which represents about 220 SEPTA engineers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents about 200 Regional Rail electricians, are prepared to strike when a 30-day "cooling-off" period ends on June 14, the unions said Wednesday. The IBEW workers authorized a strike several years ago.

A strike would be delayed by at least 240 days if Obama appoints a Presidential Emergency Board to investigate the labor dispute. Engineers have been working without a new contract since 2010, and electricians since 2009.

- Paul Nussbaum

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