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Transit union boss threatens strike over health benefits

PHILADELPHIA, (Reuters) — A Philadelphia transit union leader, frustrated by five days of stalled contract talks, said Monday that a labor dispute with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) could escalate into a region-wide strike.

Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 234 negotiator Harry Lombardo emerged after talks mediated by Mayor John Street to blame SEPTA management for allowing a dispute over health-care benefits to keep more than 400,000 daily riders under a strike threat since a three-year contract expired last Thursday.

"They are not bargaining with us in good faith," Lombardo told a news conference late Monday.