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Possible SEPTA Transit Police strike looms ahead if deal isn't reached

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CBS News Philadelphia Live

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- SEPTA Transit Police could strike Monday afternoon. SEPTA and union representatives returned to the bargaining table Sunday night, and the union says one of the biggest issues is pay.

SEPTA claims negotiators offered union members wage increases that are consistent with contract agreements and unions representing other SEPTA workers. It includes wage increases of 13% over three years.

Union leaders told CBS News Philadelphia that there appears to be a disconnect in terms of what SEPTA says is being offered and what is actually being offered. They're requesting to meet with SETPA's general manager on Monday morning, saying the GM's involvement will be crucial in helping to reach a deal.

The union's executive board will meet Monday to review SEPTA's latest offer and will then decide whether to strike.  

SEPTA says service will not be disrupted should officers strike.

Local police officers and state troopers will help out with patrols.

In a statement to CBS News Philadelphia, SEPTA said it is committed to reaching a contract that is fair to its officers and added that it is optimistic an agreement can be reached without a strike.

RELATED: SEPTA union workers ratify 1-year contract with 7% wage increase, $3,000 signing bonus

However, a contingency plan is in place in the event of a work stoppage.

Here's the latest statement from a SEPTA spokesperson on Sunday:

"SEPTA negotiators wanted to continue meeting through tonight, and remain available around the clock. We urge union leadership to return to the bargaining table, and allow police officers to remain on the job while we work out a new agreement.

There is an offer on the table from SEPTA that includes wage increases of 13% over three years, which is consistent with our contract agreements with other unions representing SEPTA frontline workers. The police contract would also include a $3,000 signing bonus for officers, although that is contingent on there not being a strike. There is also an additional $2,500 retention bonus for officers who are eligible for retirement, and it maintains generous health and retirement benefits. We hope FOTP leaders will return to the bargaining table soon so that we can get this deal finalized.

In the meantime, we have contingency plans ready to ensure safe and secure travel on the system. This would include patrols on SEPTA by PPD, State Police and other police departments. We hope we will not need to enact these plans, but will be ready if needed."

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