University feels pinch of SEPTA strike

Mike Newbold

As Sunday Oct. 30 turned into Monday Oct. 31, the city of Philadelphia, and entire Southeast Pennsylvanian sector for that matter, seemed utterly frightened.  

No ghost or goblin could have prepared the region for this Halloween debacle, because this year’s villain was not your typical villain…

Unless you really hate public transportation.  At 12:01 Halloween morning, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority went on a labor strike, citing a dispute over health care benefits as the cause.

Approximately 5,300 workers went on strike at this time, after talks broke between leaders of the Transportation Workers Union Local 234 and SEPTA.

A typical Villanova student probably woke up Monday morning forgetting all about it.

They might have even seen an R5 train running and wondered, “Did they resolve the strike?”

The R5, and other regional rails, continued to run throughout the seven day strike, while buses, trolleys, and subways were operating under limited service, or not at all.

This same Villanova student then probably went to a class or two, and decided to go to Connelly Center for a “cheesesteak and fries.” Once this student stepped foot into the Bel Air Terrace it probably dawned on him that SEPTA must still be on strike.

Lines out the door, employees in maroon aprons running around like they were on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

“We had to reduce the menu because there weren’t enough workers,” Kenny Kellner, manager of Bel Air Terrace said.

“Those who were able to work had to work longer shifts.”

Late-night favorite, Second Storey also felt the brunt of the strike.

The delishop that notoriously makes sandwiches until at least 1:30 a.m. had to shut down that part of the store at around 11:30 p.m.

The strike not only hurt the efficiency of the dining halls, it also hurt the individual employees who were missing work because of it. For some, working on the Villanova campus is their only source of income, and if someone cannot find a way to get to work, a week’s pay is gone.

The strike was finally settled early Monday Nov. 7 after an all-night bargaining session.

The settlement was a relief to all of Southeastern Pennsylvania, including managers and employees here at the University.