SMART-TD wins SEPTA members’ security in their chosen craft

April 16, 2024

Local 1594: Our brothers and sisters working on the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) recently won a new level of job security.

SEPTA is the only property where SMART-TD members operate commuter rail, bus, and trollies. These three classifications have different job duties, each with unique challenges. Unfortunately, our men and women working for SEPTA could be reassigned to any of the three crafts without a say in the matter.

If they didn’t pass the tests after being trained for a new job, the employee got fired. Even if you were a great employee for two years in the bus department, if you didn’t pass the exam after training to operate rail or a trolley, you got let go.  

There is no justice in this practice. Until now, General Chairperson Anthony Petty of Local 1594, which represents our SEPTA members, set out to change this.

GC Petty and Bus Department Vice President James Sandoval were aware that the contract was not under negotiation, but they were determined to change the policy. They refused to let this problem fester until the following contract was hashed out, and neither wanted to tie the outcome of this request to the conditions of a larger negotiation.

They took the fight directly to SEPTA as a stand-alone issue and got the win they were after! SEPTA sent GC Petty a formal side letter on March 18 informing him that language had been added to Local 1594’s contract stating that any employee outside of their initial training who “fails the rail portion of training will be permitted to transfer to bus operations.”

This might sound minor, but this is a victory for our Bus Department that will directly preserve our men and women’s careers. Our SEPTA bus operators now have a safety net ready to catch them when their boss orders them to learn how to be railroaders in the middle of their careers as bus operators. Now there’s a safety net courtesy of Brothers Sandoval, Petty and the amazing team at Local 1594.

SMART-TD honors the work, creativity, and persistence demonstrated by our officers in solving this problem for their fellow members. If your manager introduces a policy that seems unjust or threatens the security of your livelihood contact your local union officers. Together we can reverse unfair decisions and defend your right to a just and secure workplace.