When a strike begins and all seems uncertain, there's one group that often knows, almost from the start, how it's going to go. They are the lawyers on both sides of the bargaining table. Practitioners of labor-relations law, particularly in Philadelphia's insider culture, constitute a small fraternity and know one another well.

How well?

The two lawyers involved in the SEPTA transit strike have been facing off across the bargaining table for 18 years.

"The advantage you get out of it is, you know what to expect," said Bruce Bodner, who is negotiating for Transport Workers Union Local 234, where he is in-house counsel. His opponent, since 1998, is Brian Pedrow, who leads Ballard Spahr's labor and employment group.

"You know how he approaches negotiations," Bodner said, talking about Pedrow. "If he has to give, he gives a quarter of an inch at a time. I don’t know what his assessment is of me. He thinks I’m pretty radical and stubborn."

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