In this week's Skinny, Jim Nintzel wonders what's next with the City of Tucson and how it manages its transportation system past the 42-day Sun Tran strike. He notes that the troubles of Tucson's bus system aren't new and that the City Council has been here before—continuing to kick around fare increases and a new management system.
Oh yeah, perhaps nothing will happen after all. This time, I'll predict, city life is a bit different. The first issue isn't that we continue to have a City Council that looks to consultants, yet still does nothing. The first issue is that the agreement ironed out between the Teamsters and Sun Tran management—with city intervention—has yet to be released to the public. As Nintzel points out the Sun Tran management company isn't public and isn't required to adhere to public records laws. The Teamsters have said they are uncomfortable releasing the information because they are afraid it will upset other city unions.
Well, too bad. Everyone is waiting for a City Council member to get tired of the complaining and finally release the agreement based on the fact that these are tax-payer funds. Great if that happens. But wouldn't it be great if the Teamsters and the Sun Tran workers themselves released the information? Aren't they beholden to the citizens and those who supported their strike—media and others? We look to the City Council for leadership, and sometimes they come up short.
So Teamsters, you're not up for reelection, but next time you need support for workers who want to strike, you may want to be transparent NOW. Keeping the agreement from the public is the last thing you want to do, because we certainly hope this isn't the only fight you have in you to help increase worker wages in Tucson. But maybe it is, and that would be a huge disappointment. We're waiting.
— Mari Herreras, email@example.com