Philadelphia-area transit workers vote to authorize strike

Workers for the Philadelphia-area transit system have voted to authorize a strike next month if agreement isn't reached on a new contract.

Officials of the Transport Workers Union Local 234 said members overwhelmingly gave strike authorization Sunday. A union representative said leadership and members made it clear there would be "no extension."

The current contract covering more than 5,700 Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority workers expires at midnight on Oct. 31. Any walkout wouldn't begin until after that and wouldn't affect regional rail lines.

The union says issues include pensions, health care and safety issues. A two-year pact in 2014 averted a threatened walkout by bus drivers, subway and trolley operators, cashiers and mechanics.

SEPTA says strike authorization votes aren't unusual and officials remain hopeful that agreement can be reached.