Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bus Strike Ended Two Weeks Ago: Here's a Copy of the Deal Between Sun Tran & the Teamsters Union (Finally)

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge MARIA INÉS TARACENA
  • Maria Inés Taracena

The company that manages Sun Tran (Professional Transit Management) and the Teamsters Local Union 104 jointly released the agreement that ended the 42-day bus strike, after much pressure from the public, the press and the City of Tucson to make the deal transparent. 

Wages
The two-year, $4.36 million deal grants drivers a raise of 83 cents to $3.72 an hour, depending on how long they've worked at Sun Tran. New drivers didn't get a raise, keeping them at $13.30 an hour. A driver that's been employed by Sun Tran for five years will get a max of $19.52 an hour.  Also, each employee will get a one-time payment of $3,303.37, and the agreement has a provision that requires annual distribution of any savings from Sun Tran’s annual budget that could provide every employee the "potential to receive additional hourly wage, or hourly pension increases in October of each year."

Safety
From now on, union representatives will be part of assault investigations. Sun Tran and the Teamsters will meet on a monthly basis to provide updates, "discuss training and/or refresher training needs for drivers as it applies to drivers assaults." The two will also talk driver assault procedures and research ways to better to protect drivers. In case a driver is assaulted, he or she will be able to go home without pay loss. 

In the past 13 months, there have been 22 assaults on bus drivers. That includes beer-throwing, spitting and more violent incidents, such as a bus driver getting stabbed twice while on the job. 

Two weeks ago, the Teamsters said the strike resolution had resulted in the "immediate action by Tucson's City Manager (Michael Ortega) to resolve once and for all the serious mold contamination that exists in Sun Tran's north facility and on the buses, and also resulted in immediate action by the city manager to order and install Plexiglass partitions in buses on selected routes identified as being greater risks to driver safety."

The negotiation's settlement did not use money outside the approved Sun Tran budget for fiscal year 2016, but did include money from fuel savings, as well as $1.6 million from the unpaid salaries during the strike, according to both parties. The deal expires June 30, 2017, and employees aren't allowed to strike while the deal is in place.

Here's a copy of the agreement:



The City

Councilman Steve Kozachik has requested a study session for Oct. 8 to examine the city's transit system. After the strike ended, he said he hopes this will serve as a "catalyst for a reexamination of how we fund and manage our transit operations."

"Too many of our constituents and too many budget decisions depend on how we address those issues for us to allow a simple return to the status quo. I look forward to joining my colleagues, city staff, our management team, the union and the community in taking time to address these significant issues in a measured and thoughtful manner," he said in a statement to the media two weeks ago.

From Kozachik's newsletter:
In both cases, we need to learn from what just happened with the buses and do a better job of planning – and of giving direction to management that they need to come to the table early and with creative minds so both sides are working towards a solution that doesn’t impact the riding community.

Here’s a copy of the agenda request I’ve submitted:

I'm requesting 20 minutes on the October 8th study session for a staff update on Sun Van
and Sun Link labor issues. Specifically, please have staff address:
a) Expiration date of Sun Van and Sun Link labor agreements;

b) Bargaining agent for employees;

c) Projected budget for each system that will form the basis for negotiations;

d) Status of labor discussions related to each contract; have the parties met, shared information, discussed issues related in any way to wages, hours and working conditions?

e) What is the plan for getting the parties to the bargaining table well in advance of contract
expiration?

f) How will M&C be kept advised of status of labor negotiations and be made aware of potential stumbling blocks that would prevent the successful settlement of talks without a strike?

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