Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Contract Extension looks likely

Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - As a third contract deadline looms for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's largest union, both sides say they may consider an extension.

"It is something we are willing to discuss," Bob Bedard, a spokesman for the Transport Workers Union Local 234, said Monday. SEPTA also was willing to discuss an extension, spokesman Jim Whitaker said.

SEPTA's contract with the union had been extended for 30 days, from March 15 to April 15, and again for 60 days, until midnight Tuesday. A work stoppage would halt buses, subways and trolleys, while regional rail trains between the city and suburbs would continue to run.

Issues remaining unsettled Monday included how much the transit operators, mechanics and cashiers would contribute to their monthly health care premiums, union President Jeff Brooks said. Whitaker said talks would continue Tuesday.

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