PHILADELPHIA – The 4,700 members of Transport Workers, Local 234 struck the Southeastern, Pa. Transportation Authority (SEPTA) at 3 a.m. on the morning of Nov. 3 over pay and pension related issues.

Commuters in the city are facing long lines of gridlocked traffic on streets all over the city, with no city buses or subways running.

The workers on the agency’s regional rail system, which serves the suburbs, are not members of Local 234 and were not on strike. Those trains were operating, but with delays reported of up to 45 minutes.

SEPTA carries nearly one million passengers on its city routes (not including the suburban routes) on a typical weekday.

The situation is expected to become more complicated today as Philadelphia’s public school students return after a day off for faculty staff development yesterday. Some 50,000 students normally use SEPTA to travel to and from school.

No new talks have yet been scheduled.

The union had waited until Game 5 of the World Series was completed Monday night before going on strike. More than 8,000 passengers typically travel to the stadium using SEPTA’s Broad Street Subway. The union has pointed out that SEPTA has received federal stimulus funds and that ridership has increased 30 percent during the recent period.

Readers wishing to express support for the striking workers can sign an on line petition circulated by the Bread and Roses Community Fund at



Ben Sears
Ben Sears

Ben Sears is a retired teacher and AFT member in Philadelphia. He is the author, as John Bennett Sears, of the book "The Electrical Unions and the Cold War" (International Publishers 2019).