Obama orders striking PA train staff to return to work

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Phildelphia, PA, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama on Saturday intervened in a train workers’ strike in Philadelphia ordering the strikers to return to work and the creation of a board to settle the labor dispute.

Obama’s order sets the return-to-work time of more than 400 engineers and electricians of Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, when the three-member emergency board is officially established.

The board has 30 days to report the settlement of the contract dispute.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett requested Obama to intervene and create the board, which will take written positions from SEPTA and its union as well as conduct hearings.

The strike started Saturday midnight. Corbett called on both parties to work together to find a common ground.

The union is demanding a 14.5 percent pay raise over five years. SEPTA wanted the raise to be 11.5 percent. Negotiations broke down on Friday.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers welcomed the president’s intervention in the labor dispute saying they have been waiting for it.

The strike shut down 13 train lines that carry commuters from Philadelphia to the suburbs, Philadelphia International Airport and New Jersey.

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