Transit Workers Step Up Strike Tactics
PHILADELPHIA — STRIKING city transit workers spent a second day frustrating suburban commuters, blocking access to early morning trains yesterday at two stations north of Philadelphia.
Harry Lombardo, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 234, promised the union would make it difficult for people to get around until his 5,200 workers reach an agreement with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. They went on strike March 28.
About 100 pickets each at terminals in Bucks and Montgomery counties stopped regional trains around 5 a.m. by standing on the tracks. SEPTA responded by starting the runs at the next stations.
The pickets had packed up and left both stations by 7:30 a.m. before police could make any arrests. Trains resumed regular runs about a half-hour later.
Local 234 negotiators walked out six hours before a strike deadline, demanding a 9 percent raise over three years. SEPTA had said it could only offer 7 percent, but spokesman Stephan Rosenfeld hinted on Tuesday that SEPTA could go higher.
''Is there a little room to move?'' Mr. Rosenfeld said. ''There usually is, but you don't know that until you sit down at the bargaining table.''
The strike has stranded about 370,000 commuters who use city trolleys, subways, and buses. A suburban high-speed line and bus service on SEPTA's Red Arrow division stopped Sunday, when a second union local went on strike.
In an aggressive day of picketing Tuesday, striking bus drivers, train operators, and mechanics blocked a fleet of suburban buses from starting their morning routes, leaving a depot only after a restraining order stopped the protest.