Rental car shuttle workers at Sky Harbor airport go on strike

PHOENIX - Shuttle drivers and ambassadors with the Rental Car Center at Sky Harbor airport announced they are going on strike Tuesday after rejecting their contractor's offer, according to officials.

The Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1433, announced Tuesday evening that they wouldn’t accept Veolia Transportation’s final offer in response to their demands, according to a statement from the union, which represents the shuttle drivers and ambassadors.

Veolia Transportation is contracted and operates the shuttles for the Phoenix Sky Harbor Rental Car Center and the airport's Inter-Terminal shuttles.

Valerie Michael, spokesman for Veolia, said the company had a contingency in place in case workers went on strike and said all shuttles are up and running.

Julie Rodriguez, spokesman for Phoenix Sky Harbor, said busses are running and says the strike does not impact the Phoenix Sky Train.

Travel tips and advice have been posted to Phoenix Sky Harbor's website . Travelers using the shuttles should allow extra travel time.

The union alleges that Veolia Transportation was requiring curbside ambassadors to pay more for health care than their monthly earnings, according to ATU president Bob Bean.

They also took issue with wages, attendance, holidays, sick leave and vacations, said Bean.

“We remain open to meeting with the union, however, we have made every effort to provide a fair and balanced offer to our employees,” the Veolia statement said.

The union met from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the final offer, but said they weren’t convinced Veolia was trying to change.

“The problem is that Veolia made almost no change from the previous proposal that was overwhelmingly rejected,” lead negotiator for the union Michael Cornelius said.

Workers began organizing the strike at 5 p.m. after employee's completed their shifts and are located outside Veolia’s headquarters at 24th Street and Buckeye Road.

The National Labor Relations Board also filed a federal court complaint against Veolia for labor practice violations on Monday, Bean says.

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