Sun Tran Strike Day 5: Sides not talking, few buses running

Sun Tran Strike Day 5: Sides not talking, few buses running

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Sun Tran bus strike entered its fifth day on Monday, with both sides sticking to their guns and no end in sight.

That means service will continue to be limited during the work week and non existent on weekends.

The union voted to strike on Aug. 6 and the sides are not scheduled to meet again.

Sun Tran said it will have eight routes going during the week and service will be available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Those routes are:

• Route 3 6th Street/Wilmot.

• Route 4 – Speedway.

• Route 8 – Broadway.

• Route 11 – Alvernon.

• Route 16 – Oracle/Ina.

• Route 18 – South 6th Avenue.

• Route 25 – South Park Avenue.

• Route 29 – Valencia.

More routes will be added as resources become available, according to Communications Director Kandi Young. She said some of the current drivers are supervisors who are CDL certified and used to drive and some have been relocated from Professional Transit Management's Phoenix location.

Limited service maps and schedules are available at transit centers, www.suntran.com and by calling Customer Service at 520- 792-9222.

Transit services not affected by the strike include Sun Van, the City of Tucson's paratransit service; Sun Link streetcar and Sun Shuttle, neighborhood transportation service provided by the Regional Transportation Authority serving Marana, Oro Valley, Catalina, Sahuarita, Green Valley, San Xavier, Ajo, Rita Ranch and Tucson Estates.

Monday Developments

Union workers continued to picket outside the Ronstadt Transit Center in downtown Tucson.

Sun Tran recently posted job openings for full-time bus operators. Information on the openings can be found HERE.

Strike Background

The Teamsters Local Union 104 voted to walk out early Thursday morning when its collective bargaining agreement with Sun Tran expired.

The union claimed driver safety, worker health and pay were the reasons a deal could not be reached. Sun Tran disputed those claims.

When it comes to safety, 21 drivers were assaulted in fiscal year 2015, which is an increase from 16 incidents in 2013. Representatives of Sun Tran and the union have worked together on an "assault committee" for the last year to find solutions to the problem. So far, they include police officers on certain routes, security cameras on others and training classes for drivers to defend themselves if assaulted.

"Of course we would love to have zero (assaults), I mean that would be ideal," said Young. "Is it realistic? Unfortunately maybe not, but we can do what we can to help."

Andrew Marshall, with Local Teamsters 104, said Friday that both sides consider safety to be a top priority but he worries there won't be any money for improvements because union members are already having to strike for an increase in their salaries.

"The drivers feel that there isn't enough being done and I feel like they have a valid point," he said. "The response times when they notify somebody that something is happening could be a lot better."

Sun Tran said the starting pay for a driver is $13.30 per hour while the average rate is $16.72. The company said 76 percent of the Sun Tran mechanics earn $22.16 per hour.

According to Sun Tran, other union medical and dental coverage for employees and dependents, pension, short-term disability and life insurance, paid vacation and 401(k).

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