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Editor's Note 

It's about more than a strike

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María Inés Taracena

The last few days we've heard from many people upset about the SunTran strike, now going into its eighth day. The disruption the strike has caused students and workers has obviously been felt across the city.

We haven't heard from many in support of the strike. I understand why some may not be supportive of the 530 SunTran workers striking for better wages and working conditions. After all, other workers in Tucson continue to work for low wages or struggle with employment to begin with. Also, lives are being disrupted—those same low-wage Tucson workers trying to get to their jobs and trying to get home after a long shift; and others who rely on our city bus system to get to medical appointments and other vital services.

It's hard. It's understandable that folks are upset and may not be that supportive of our local transit workers. But I hope folks may take the time to think of this strike a little differently. I know some out there who already have—opting to still walk to work if they can, even when the route near their homes remains in service. Others have shown up to give strikers words of encouragement.

This past year or so, our crazyland state Legislature has made if difficult for unions to organize new members and represent members. We are now in a state and national climate that is increasingly anti-union and those messages become more well-funded every political season. So, I guess, what I hope can happen here, is that because that political climate exists, that people, even when it makes our lives harder during the strike, consider supporting the strike nonetheless.

Even if SunTran drivers make more than you do right now, this strike is about all of our futures and not just that of our local bus drivers. Every Labor Day, you see the Facebook memes go out reminding folks that if not for labor unions, we wouldn't have the weekend, etc. True, but our lives right now are a bit more than the weekend—wages, better working conditions and job security need to be extended to everyone, even those who don't belong to a union.

Crazyland has to change and Tucson needs to be a city that isn't just a nice affordable place to live because it notoriously pays its workers low wages. Perhaps a good union strike is actually what this city needs right now. SunTran workers, show us how it's done. Yes, this is a pain. We're a creative city—figure out rides. Let Crazyland know that Tucson is a city that remains a troublemaking kind of town.

— Mari Herreras, mherreras@tucsonweekly.com


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