Rendell to union: It’s time to sign

With resentment growing against SEPTA’s bus, trolley and train operators on the second day of a massive transit strike, Gov. Ed Rendell planned to talk to union officials today and convey one simple message: Sign the deal.

Rendell criticized the leadership of Transport Workers Union Local 234 for turning down a “sensational offer.”

“SEPTA is not going to increase their offer on wages, pension and health care at all,” Rendell said.

“The SEPTA board wouldn’t do that even if I asked them to.”

Negotiations could resume today, but no discussions have been scheduled. Riders were still fuming as hundreds of thousands found alternative modes of transportation for the second strike since 2004 and third in the last 11 years.

“They just need to make a deal,” said a frustrated Margaret Davis of Overbrook. “Stop taking so much time and making ultimatums.”

Despite the unrest, Local 234 President Willie Brown said he would hold out as long as it takes to get better pensions for his 5,000-plus operators and mechanics.

“Sometimes when you take a stand, it’s not going to necessarily be a popular stand,” Brown said.

“I’m very sorry the riding public is inconvenienced, but when is a good time to go on strike?”