Last week in The Inquirer, Paul Prescod called on SEPTA to do the right thing and award death benefits to SEPTA employees who have died from Covid-19. As long-time attorneys representing injured rail workers, including SEPTA employees, The Myers Firm joins in that call. In April, the MTA reached an agreement with its largest unions under which the MTA agreed to pay $500,000 to the families of employees killed by the coronavirus. SEPTA should show the same appreciation for its own employees by stepping up to the plate and doing the same thing.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, SEPTA bus and rail workers have placed themselves on the line to provide transportation to other essential workers. As of last week, more than 200 SEPTA employees and Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 234 members have tested positive for the coronavirus, and seven have lost their lives.
When MTA decided to award its own fallen employees, MTA Chairman Pat Foye recognized that, “What our frontline workers have done during this pandemic is nothing short of heroic.” This is no less true of Philadelphia’s SEPTA employees. Indeed, as reported by Mr. Prescod in The Inquirer, Mayor Kenney’s office recognized that, “Health-care workers and other essential staff are relying on SEPTA more than ever, and it’s critical that we work together to ensure public transportation is accessible to those who need it.” Sadly, this recognition came only after the Transport Worker’s Union threatened a work stoppage to force SEPTA to take basic safety measures.
The families of SEPTA employees who perished from Covid-19 related illnesses have had their hearts broken and the ground pulled out from under them. They deserve for SEPTA to at least help provide them with sound financial footing to help them cope with their loss.
President, The Myers Firm, Attorneys at Law, P.C.