Philadelphia governor refuses union demands to audit employee pension fund

The Workers Org.

Pension fund missing 47% of funding from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA)

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While nearly reaching a tentative agreement on day four of the strike, the union is still holding out for a forensic audit of the company’s pension fund. Unlike a standard audit, a forensic audit specifically tracks and collects evidence for investigation and prosecution of criminal acts such as embezzlement and fraud.

TWU Local 234 even offered to subject their contract to binding arbitration and return to work, under the condition that SEPTA submit to the forensic audit. Speaking on behalf of management, Governor Rendell firmly rejected the idea of binding arbitration while ignoring the audit request.

Could the pension money have gone to pay off the interest and principal on bonds that were floated for huge capital construction projects over the last 15 years? Paying off this enormous debt obligation would demand a considerable amount of cash. Opening up the company books to the workers might provide the answer and more. Brown even said, “We are willing to pay for a forensic audit. What are they afraid of?” (Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 7)

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