The Latest: Transit workers in Philadelphia on strike

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Posted: Nov 01, 2016 12:10 AM
The Latest: Transit workers in Philadelphia on strike

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on contract talks between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and a union representing about 4,700 workers (all times local):

12:05 a.m.

Transit workers in Philadelphia are on strike.

A union representing about 4,700 workers walked off the job at midnight after being unable to reach a contract agreement with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

The strike is shutting down bus, trolley and subways that provide about 900,000 rides a day.

Some officials fear that if it doesn't end by Election Day, some voters may have a hard time getting back and forth from work and also finding time to vote.

Businesses, hospitals and schools have contingency plans in place.

The strike also will have a major impact on the Philadelphia school system. SEPTA provides rides for nearly 60,000 public, private and charter school students.

Schools will remain open but the district is expecting some late arrivals.

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11 p.m.

Contract negotiations between Philadelphia's main transit agency and a union representing about 4,700 workers are continuing late Monday as a midnight strike deadline approaches.

In a news conference Monday evening, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said it hoped union negotiators would remain at the bargaining table past the midnight deadline if necessary and, if so, workers would remain on the job.

The union said late Monday that talks were "still going, but slow."

The strike would affect Philadelphia bus, trolley and subway lines, but not commuter rail lines and not service in areas outside the city. The city system's daily weekday ridership is about 900,000 trips, and nearly 60,000 public, private and charter school students use it to get to and from school.

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6 p.m.

Philadelphia's main transit agency says contract talks are continuing with a union that says it will strike at midnight Monday if a contract agreement is not reached by then.

The union represents about 4,700 workers at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. A walkout would halt bus, trolley and subway lines that provide a total of about 900,000 rides each weekday.

A SEPTA spokeswoman says negotiations are progressing but there are many "unresolved issues."

SEPTA encourages union representatives to continue talking past midnight Monday if necessary and workers to remain on the job if they do. The agency is telling transit riders they still should prepare for a possible serious service disruption.

Officials are worried if a strike lasted through Election Day it could keep some Philadelphia residents from voting.

The union says it could have an update soon.

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2:30 p.m.

Officials are concerned that a looming transit strike could keep some Philadelphia residents from voting.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and a union representing about 4,700 workers were in talks Monday after meeting throughout the weekend.

Workers are set to walk off the job after midnight if an agreement on a new contract isn't reached.

The strike would halt bus, trolley and subway lines in Philadelphia but not commuter rail lines or suburban transit. The city system's daily weekday ridership is about 900,000 trips. Nearly 60,000 public, private and charter school students use it to get to and from school.

Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke says voters could be disenfranchised if their Nov. 8 commutes are lengthened by a strike.

Pennsylvania has tighter absentee ballot rules than many other states and no early voting. Negotiations between Philadelphia's transit agency and the union representing 5,700 workers are ongoing amid a threat of a strike at midnight if an agreement on a new contract isn't reached.

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8:15 p.m.

Negotiations between Philadelphia's transit agency and a union representing 5,700 workers are ongoing amid a threat of a strike at midnight if an agreement on a new contract isn't reached.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and the union met throughout the weekend and were scheduled to continue contract talks Monday.

A strike would affect Philadelphia bus, trolley and subway lines but not regional rail lines and service in areas outside the city. The city system's daily weekday ridership is about 800,000 trips, or about 400,000 people. More than 60,000 public, private and charter school students use the system to get to and from school.

Union officials say pension and health care benefits are key issues, but differences also remain on non-economic issues such as schedules, break time and driver fatigue.