Thursday, March 25, 2004


TWU Local 234 is expected to vote tomorrow on the proposed one-year contract tentatively agreed to last weekend. Based on some earlier media reports, it would appear that ratification is a slam dunk. But...

There are rumors floating around that a vote in favor of the contract is not as much of a lock as one would expect. One rumor that's been flying is that younger drivers out of Allegheny and Callowhill are expected to provide some strong opposition to the agreement. The insider reports that many of the younger operators are less than thrilled with the prospect of no pay raise and a one-time payout in this contract. The vote comes on the heels of last Sunday's mass membership meeting in North Philadelphia.

Tomorrow's vote will have a huge impact in the other divisions as well. At Red Arrow, for example, mechanics and support staff represented by TWU 234 will also be voting on the contract tomorrow, however their "strike date" is April 1 as opposed to March 15 in the city. Another rumor that's flying around is that the TWU may be stretching this process out in order to reject the contract and force both the City Transit and Red Arrow divisions out of service.

If the TWU rank-and-file rejects the contract proposal, it is expected that the union will start playing hardball with SEPTA, which would have a negative impact on the UTU 1594 negotiations. UTU is expected to authorize a strike - should it be neccesary - in the event negotiations with TWU breaks down. The UTU contract historically mirrors the TWU contract, hence both unions are in a state of limbo.

Another wild card in all of this is the expiration of the Frontier contact on April 6. If nothing is settled either in the city or Red Arrow - of for that matter both - things are going to get very ugly.

Let's just say that tomorrow's vote will be very close and see what happens from there...

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