SEPTA transit police union reaches tentative agreement to end strike

Officials now say the tentative agreement will go to both the FOTP and the SEPTA Board for approval.

By6abc Digital Staff and Charles Watson WPVI logo
Sunday, December 17, 2023
SEPTA transit police union reaches tentative agreement to end strike
SEPTA transit police union reaches tentative agreement to end strike

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Fraternal Order of Transit Police has reached a tentative deal with SEPTA to end the strike on Saturday.

As a result of this agreement, SEPTA officials say its officers will return to their regular patrols immediately.

The strike initially began on Wednesday after a months-long stalemate on working out a new contract.

"We are happy to welcome back our police officers with this tentative agreement in place," said SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards. "Negotiators for both SEPTA and the FOTP have been working around the clock, as have our police supervisors who have been covering patrols."

Officials now say the tentative agreement will go to both the FOTP and the SEPTA Board for approval.

The new contract still needs to be ratified by those groups. A vote will be held on the issue next week.

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and his administration have been in communication with all parties involved in the negotiations, according to SEPTA.

Leaders with the transit agency and union say Shapiro's help was instrumental in reaching the agreement.

"Gov. Shapiro stepped up to the plate. With his involvement, we scored the gains we needed. The governor made it clear to both sides that public safety was of paramount importance," said FOTP President Omari Bervine. "This is a huge win for SEPTA transit passengers who will have us back on the job. We want to thank the governor for playing a critical role as well as the President of State Fraternal Order of Police President Joe Regan."

The key issue that led to the strike, according to the FOTP, was the lack of equality with other transit workers who had reached an agreement with SEPTA back in October.

The transit police union was also able to get an agreement that allows for a 13% raise over 36 months rather than 43, which SEPTA managers previously insisted on.

"We're actually getting our increases on time, which is what we really wanted. We wanted the same deal that you offered your other unions," said FOTP Vice President Troy Parham.

The only concession made by FOTP was the $3,000 signing bonus, officials say.

SEPTA police officers will be returning to their regular shifts by Saturday afternoon. The department will be at full staffing levels no later than 11 p.m., officials say.