Commuter rail service in the Philadelphia area was restored early today, just hours after workers returned to their jobs following a brief strike that was ended when President Barack Obama intervened, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority officials said. SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams says all workers scheduled for morning shifts today showed up and "some lines with early run starts, such as the Airport Line, are rolling. Regional Rail is back." The last regional rail strike, in 1983, lasted more than three months.
The strike began after negotiations between SEPTA and its engineers and electricians unions failed to reach a new contract deal Friday. Obama yesterday granted Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's request to create a presidential emergency board to mediate the contract dispute, forcing the 400 union workers to go back. Obama ordered the establishment of the three-member board effective at 12:01am Sunday and called for "a swift and smooth resolution." International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers president Terry Gallagher said Obama's intervention was "what we were waiting for. We have been five years without an agreement, trying to get to this point, and we're happy we're here now." (Read more Philadelphia stories.)