Striking SEPTA workers prepared for long haul

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Unionized SEPTA workers who walked off the job just after midnight Tuesday and who are now manning picket lines tell Action News they are ready for the long haul.

At the Roberts Avenue Yard in Tioga-Nicetown on Tuesday afternoon, striking SEPTA workers were blocking the employee entrance to the regional rails. SEPTA warned of service interruptions by picketers.

"It's going great. I've been here since '94, and this is the first time I remember this part of the gate getting shut off. So I think we're doing a good job," said bus operator Wanda Smith.

Hours after the walkout, SEPTA obtained a court order to prevent striking workers from interfering with operations on its Regional Rail lines.

At the picket line set up Tuesday at SEPTA's Fern Rock station, striking workers rattled off a long list of issues they hope union negotiators can resolve with the transit authority.

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"Wages, healthcare and pension. However, there's still work rules," said cashier Donald Dennison.

"For me, the priority is the pension because this is my very last contract. So it's, like, do or die," said cashier Joyce Woolford.

Many on the picket lines told us they prepared for the strike by saving money ahead of time. Most said they hope to get back to work soon. There said they felt anxious not knowing how long the strike would last.

"You wonder, are they talking? Are they making progress? How long you going to be out here? We are out here for the duration, however long it takes," Woolford said.

"We're hopeful. We don't want to stay out longer than anyone wants us to be out," said cashier Ted Dunn.

While out on the picket line, some of the longtime employees were reminiscing about strikes in the past that went on 40 or more days.

Their feeling this time? The strike will go on until they see some big concessions from SEPTA.
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