Phoenix bus strike enters third day

Posted at 7:21 AM, Jan 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-10 13:35:59-05

Bus operators frustrated with pay and certain benefits will enter the third day of their strike Sunday amid festivities ahead of the national college championship game.

Thousands have made their way to downtown Phoenix to take part in the College Football Playoff Championship's Fan Central at Phoenix Convention Center and the AT&T free concerts nearby.

Transdev and Union officials have been back and forth at the negotiating table trying to hash out a new deal after union reps rejected the company's "last and best offer."

Union officials said sticking points in the negotiations include bereavement time and uniform allowances for the bus drivers, plus a tiered payment system and vacation time.

Phoenix Public Transit said Routes 19, 70 & 50 would be operating on a reduced level Sunday. Riders can follow @PhoenixMetroBus on Twitter for updates.

Routes 19, 35, 50 and 70 are on the road and operating, the account tweeted just after 7 a.m.

Click here for traffic updates.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 officials called for a midnight Friday walkout after contract talks stalled. 

"They push us out on strike so the union is the bad guy," union secretary Michael Cornelius told reporters. "The operators are out there wondering whether or not they are going to be able to feed their kids. They don't get paid for strikes -- not one penny."

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.

"We are very disappointed that our operators are being instructed by ATU 1433 to strike," Transdev said in a news release. "Our focus now will shift in preparing to provide valley riders with the service they have come to expect."

Transdev's contract requires the company to run a reduced level of service, although doing so requires time for the company to get personnel trained and in place, Jacoby said.

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.


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