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By Evan Henerson

Earlier this week, more than 4,700 members of Transportation Workers Union Local 234 walked off the job at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), bringing Philadelphia's bustling system of subways, trolleys and buses to a halt.

The SEPTA workers say the company needs to address such topics as pension disparities, the possibility of a large increase in health-care costs and working conditions which the union says put the public in danger.

The two sides are bad mouthing each other in the press and – one hopes – negotiating behind the scenes. SEPTA has filed an injunction trying to get the courts to force the striking workers back to their jobs, claiming that the shutdown has caused a “a clear and present danger” to the region, particularly to such populations as the poor, the disabled and students who take SEPTA to get to public, charter and parochial schools.

On the ground (or underground as the case may be), the Philadelphia Inquirer’s RealTime staff is doing a bang-up job with up-the minutes updates on the strike. We learn about the seven weirdest ways to commute, that the strike has inspired a viral Facebook song, how to handle stress on your not so pleasant commute and – big surprise here – that Uber, Lyft and cabs are doing great business.

Let’s hope those alternative modes of transportation will be especially busy on Tuesday shuttling City of Brotherly Love-ians to the polls. SEPTA floated the idea of the workers put their strike on hiatus on Election Day.  The union wasn’t particularly receptive to that idea.

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Labor 411 believes that by making the choice to spend our money on products and services that are made in our country by workers who are treated fairly, and paid living wages, we are helping to protect the middle class, strengthen our national economy and build a stronger America. We are here to make your consumer buying choices easy and fun. We call that ethical consumerism, and we hope you will join us in making the everyday decisions count.

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“Philadelphia is pleased to join Labor 411 in supporting good jobs through the purchase of union-made products and services. We believe it's a very effective way to bolster a lagging middle class. Philadelphia is a beautiful and historic union city with a robust tourism industry. We believe it is a great fit with the Buy Union, Buy American movement."

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