04 November 2009

SEPTA Strike

Yep, another strike.

My life is all about strikes right now. As a lot of you know right now (either from my status messages on Gchat, my incessant phone calls, or my nonstop IMs), SEPTA (that's the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority - or mass/public transit - to you non-locals) is on strike.

Their contract expired last March, but they didn't strike then because they wisely decided that it wasn't in their best interest to strike then. They issued a statement then that they recognised that it wasn't a good to strike, that too many people were depending on them to get to jobs, etc. Then, last week, they suddenly decided that they couldn't work without a contract any more and that they would strike at 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning.

And, oh, it was just a coincidence that this was the same weekend as three World Series games, three Pearl Jam concerts, a Philadelphia Flyers game, and a Philadelphia Eagles game. Now, for you non-locals, all of these events take place in the same area - the Sports Complex in South Philly. And the best, fastest, easiest way to get there? The Broad Street Subway.

Governor Rendell finally stepped in and threatened to withhold SEPTA's state funding if they went on strike. So they didn't. And the city breathed a collective sigh of relief. And all was well.

Until the Philly part of the World Series ended in the wee hours on Monday. People went to sleep happy because the Phillies had won, extending the Series. Not knowing that SEPTA employees would walk out mere hours later.

Tuesday morning, I woke up at 5:20 a.m., got ready for work, walked to my trolley stop and waited. And a women walked by and informed me that I shouldn't continue to wait for the trolley because SEPTA went on strike as of 3:00 a.m. that morning. WTF???

So I walked to the nearest train station. Last week, I had purchased a train pass, in case they went on strike (it only costs $6 more than my usual pass since I'm in Zone 1 so, for me, it wasn't much of a gamble) so that was okay. I walked the five blocks to the train stop, practically running so I could catch the first train, mistakenly thinking it came at 6:15 (it comes at 6:07). However, it didn't come until 6:39 anyway. So I ran (in my dress shoes and work clothes) for nothing. Yay me.

I meet up with my coworker on the train. We get off at the main university campus stop, which is two miles from the hospital campus. My coworker and I end up meeting up with some other random hospital worker, so now there are three of us facing a two-mile walk to the hospital. My coworker decides he doesn't want to walk, so we get to red light, he picks a car, knocks on the window, asks the guy if he's going up to the hospital and if he minds giving the three of us a ride!!!! AND THE GUYS SAYS OKAY!!!!

So, yeah, we hitched a ride. And the guy didn't kill us. Getting home was another story. I had to walk the two miles from the hospital to the main campus, catch the train, and get off in the city because I had an appointment. Then to actually get home, I had to wait in a long-ass hour-long line at the train station. At each station, they only let a certain number of people get on so that they can still guarantee people getting on at each station, which is pretty smart of them.

Today, instead of hitching a ride with a random person this morning, we flagged down a random empty SCHOOL BUS. Yeah, you heard me. The hospital is supposed to run shuttles, but all HR will tell us is that the shuttles run a 40-minute loop and that the shuttles are clearly marked with the university logo in front. Well, this bus was clearly marked with the Philadelphia Eagles logo all over. And one of the women in our group flagged it down and asked him if he was going by the hospital. He said he was, so he gave us a ride.

Who knows what tomorrow's adventure will be.

Oh, and by the way. The offer the SEPTA union turned down?

Wages: No raise this year, but a $1,250 ratification bonus; a 2.5% raise in Year 2, and 3% raise in Years 3, 4, and 5. An 11% increase in pension contributions, and no increase in workers' contributions to health insurance benefits for five years.

1 comment:

  1. I cannot believe the offer the union turned down. I mean, what on earth is the rationale behind that?