No matter how the Philadelphia transit strike is resolved, you'll be hearing more about one of its key issues -- even if you don't live in Philadelphia. The issue: Will organized labor stand for transit systems using more part-time workers to cut mounting operating costs? The City of Brotherly Love is far from being the only one with transit problems.
The Philadelphia transit authority is demanding the right to hire 5 percent part-time labor. Such labor is increasingly attractive to transit operators because it allows them to hire drivers only for peak commuting hours. But transit workers fear the provision could jeopardize jobs.
With the Reagan administration proposing to end federal operating subsidies, transit systems are looking to trim labor costs, which often represent 80 percent of their expenses.
Half of the nation's 30 largest urban areas already have won this rig ht, and others are negotiating for it.m