Phoenix bus drivers' union accepts new deal

AP News
Posted: Jan 15, 2016 6:06 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — A bus drivers' union approved a new agreement with a transit company Friday, bringing an end to a weeklong strike that shut down bus routes in Phoenix.

Leaders of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 accepted the deal and all drivers will return to work Saturday, city officials said. The contract was voted in by 85 percent of union members, according to a tweet posted by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

"We are very pleased that our operators overwhelmingly approved a new five-year contract," operator Transdev said in a statement. "We look forward to getting our employees back to work and returning to 100% bus service tomorrow morning."

Union members have been on strike since Jan. 8, halting service on 34 routes operated by Transdev. The transit operator has been offering limited service on some routes as mandated by its contract with the city, Public Transit Department spokesman Lars Jacoby said.

Limited service will continue on 13 of those routes for Friday.

Transdev and the union have been meeting with a federal mediator for the past week. Issues that were points of contention included bereavement time, bathroom breaks and a tiered pay system.

Transdev officials said they offered a fair contract providing a 3 percent annual wage increase retroactive to July, if accepted without a work stoppage. Talks began in April and resumed last month after a six-week hiatus.

A spokesman for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The strike created a considerable headache for commuters who rely on buses to get to work, medical appointments and other important errands. Residents have had to use the city's light rail system or ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Others missed work altogether.

In October, the most recent month for which data is available, Transdev served roughly 78,000 passengers on a given weekday. That is out of an average daily ridership of 123,000, Jacoby said.