TWU Stops SEPTA Outsourcing in its tracks
Published 28 Jun, 2012
TWU Local 234 won the first round in the fight to keep the overhaul of 176 wheel-assembly units for the Market Frankford El rail cars in Philadelphia.
On June 15, Common Pleas Court Judge Idee Fox entered an order prohibiting SEPTA from outsourcing the M-4 trucks pending further discussions with the TWU.
“Most important thing is that our members' jobs are protected,” said Local 234 President John Johnson, Jr. “ This is what unionism is all about, fighting for them.”
For nearly a decade, TWU members overhauled these M-4 trucks repairing or replacing wheels, gearboxes, and air valves. SEPTA was wrongfully taking $13 million worth of work from the TWU members and sending it to Bombardier Mass Transit Corp. in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
As March’s 2012 Philadelphia unemployment rate was at 10.2%, SEPTA used $13 million in federal funds (our tax money) to send work that has always been done in Philadelphia to Canadian company in New York.
The issue started when cracks were discovered in several truck frames on the Market-Frankford El in 2009 and 2010. Bombardier purchased the company that manufactured the truck frames, which were guaranteed for 40-years. SEPTA maintains that a “design flaw” caused the trucks to fail.
Initially, SEPTA sought an agreement from Bombardier to repair the cracks at no charge. But instead of holding Bombardier to its obligations under the warranty, SEPTA handed Bombardier overhaul work associated with the truck repairs worth millions allowing Bombardier to make money on the deal.
The Judge ordered SEPTA and TWU to meet at least three times between June 25 and Aug. 10 to discuss and investigate the necessity for the outsourcing. Attorneys for both sides will return to court on Aug. 10.