Willie Brown, longtime leader of SEPTA's largest union, has stepped down

Brown, a Philadelphia native, began his career with SEPTA as a trolley operator in 1987. He was first elected president in 2008.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Willie Brown, the president of Transport Workers Union Local 234, has stepped down as the leader of SEPTA's largest union, officials said Wednesday.

Brown will now be the head of the Transport Workers Union of America's Transit, Universities, Utilities and Services Division. Brian Pollitt, the local union's elected executive vice president will serve as the new president, according to a news release.

Brown, a Philadelphia native, began his career with SEPTA as a trolley operator in 1987. He was first elected president in 2008.

He is known for being a tough negotiator and led strikes in 2009 and 2016.

Pollitt, who also was born and raised in Philadelphia, began his career with SEPTA in 1990 as a bus operator. He has worked closely with Brown over the years, understands the inner workings of SEPTA, and is well known to the union's membership, officials said.

"The first order of business is to bring us together," said Pollitt. "My goal is to build solidarity now and maintain it as we make our way through this pandemic and onto the next round of bargaining."

Brown will be based at the international union's headquarters in Washington, D.C. He will be responsible for the union's largest division, which represents workers at transit authorities in New York, San Francisco, Houston and other cities, including Philadelphia.
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