PHX bus strike affecting Valley hotel workers

Posted at 10:32 PM, Jan 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-09 08:15:06-05

With elite visitors in the Valley for a mega sporting event, some hotel workers are having a hard time getting to work.

Those workers ride the bus, and hundreds of Phoenix bus drivers are on strike.

The College Football National Championship, with Alabama versus Clemson, is Monday in Glendale. The teams arrived Friday.

Deanna Machuca works at The Phoenician in Scottsdale.

She had to leave a second job an hour early to allow extra travel time to her job at the hotel. Fewer buses are on the roads during the strike.

"I was like, if the bus doesn't come [soon], I'm going to have to call and let [the hotel] know," Machuca said.

The result would have been a hotel restaurant being "shorthanded at hostess for a while," Machuca said. She ended up making it to work on time.

The bus drivers' strike started Friday morning. Sticking points between the union and the city's contracted company, Transdev, include bathroom breaks and a tiered pay system.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton ordered the sides to continue negotiating Friday morning. Those talks went nowhere.

An spokeswoman for the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess said only one employee expressed transportation difficulty due to the strike.

A Phoenician spokeswoman said staffing was not affected by the strike.

An email to the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors' Bureau did not get a reply.

Employees of The Clarendon Hotel and Spa in Phoenix who need a ride to work will get one, owner Ben Bethel said.

Bethel said the hotel will reimburse Uber charges for affected employees' commutes to and from work.

"Transit strikes only make companies like Uber more and more necessary in today's society," Bethel said.

Transdev, through a representative, apologized for the inconvenience caused by the strike and pledged to restore as much bus service as possible.

The union president, Bob Bean, said the strike was a last resort and could be remedied in five minutes of fruitful negotiation.