Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bus Strike Day 42: Teamsters & Sun Tran Reach Tentative Agreement, Vote Taking Place Later Today

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge MARIA INÉS TARACENA
  • Maria Inés Taracena

The more than 500 Sun Tran bus drivers and mechanics that have been on strike for six weeks will vote this evening on a tentative agreement reached early this morning between the Teamsters Local Union 104 and Professional Transit Management—the company that oversees Sun Tran.

Andy Marshall with the Teamsters says he can't be specific about what the deal looks like. The strikers will vote on whether or not to accept the tentative agreement at 5 p.m. today, he said during a phone conversation with the Weekly.

The strike began on Aug. 6, after  the union and Sun Tran reps didn't agree on each other's proposals for a new three-year contract. At the time, the Teamsters voted 363-4, rejecting a proposal that included a lesser starting wage for new employees, and no raises for current employees. Fixing ongoing mold problems and demands for better security are also on the negotiating table.

Throughout the strike, Sun Tran has been able to run 13 routes in a limited service, in part because there are about two dozen management and administrative staffers helping out, as well as 15 others from out of state, who were hired by Transdev (PTM's father company). More than 60,000 rely on the bus to go to work, school, doctor's appointments, you name it.

Last week, the Tucson City Council voted for French-based Transdev to use the roughly $500,000 in fuel savings that was returned to the city's general fund last fiscal year, as well as the hundreds of thousands the company has saved up during the strike (because no one picketing has gotten paid for the days they've been on strike), to try and reach a middle ground with the Teamsters' wage demands.

We'll keep you posted.

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