Lots more info. today on how the strike was resolved, as well as opinions about every aspect of the plays and players.
- According to the Inquirer, Rendell played a critical role in making the deal happen, by making the compromise financially feasible:
Rendell agreed to advance promised funds to SEPTA so it could pay its health-care premiums in advance. The move would save SEPTA $15 million, he said, and enable the agency to require workers to pay 1 percent of their salaries toward health care rather than kicking in 5 percent of the cost of their health plans.It was a feat of shuttle diplomacy along the way as well.
- The Daily News piles on more kudos for the Governor's intervention, but wishes we didn't always have to wait for the Big Dogs to arrive before fights can be settled.
- A separate Daily News piece points out that Rendell wasn't the only one working hard, and that credit should be given to Deborah Willig, a lawyer for the union, for unearthing the Blue Cross policy that advance payment of policies results in a big premium discount -- essentially she found the $15 million that SEPTA needed to meet its budget goals. Great creative thinking, and nice to see the actual footsoldiers getting some credit.
- The Inquirer also has an editorial calling on state lawmakers to provide dedicated transit funding, especially given the equitable deal just reached.
- Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky thinks transit strikes should be forbidden, given the burden they place on the citizenry.
- And the Daily News editorial page says now is the time to ask a host of difficult questions about SEPTA's future, including not only whether transit unions should be allowed to strike, but also who should oversee SEPTA's operations. Fodder for much future discussion!