Sun Tran and drivers union agree on new contract

2014-08-08T00:00:00Z 2014-08-08T08:09:30Z Sun Tran and drivers union agree on new contractBy Darren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Bus service will run as usual on Friday, and beyond.

Sun Tran workers averted a strike by ratifying a new one-year labor agreement Thursday night, just hours before the existing contract expired.

The contract passed with 74.5 percent of workers approving it, said Teamster Local 104 representative Andy Marshall.

The deal contains pay raises and other changes for bus drivers, mechanics and other workers, but Marshall wouldn’t give specifics immediately following the vote.

The old contract was set to expire at midnight.

The union held meetings throughout the day Thursday for members to cast their votes on the proposed contract.

The two sides have engaged in contract talks since mid-June, said Kandi Young, Sun Tran’s Communications and Marketing Director.

Neither side was certain the offer would pass muster with members since they were still far apart on contract terms entering into this week.

Sun Tran’s previous proposal was rejected over the weekend by 76 percent of union members, Marshall said.

Union members could had authorized a strike as early as Friday if the two sides didn’t reach an agreement.

The workers’ contract expired last Thursday, but the two sides agreed on an extension.

Teamsters Local 104 represents 538 Sun Tran employees. Of those, 432 are dues-paying members.

The last time Sun Tran workers went on strike was in 2010, which lasted about a week.

Prior to that, workers went on strike twice — once in 1997 and again in 2001. In 2001, the strike went on for 12 days and a federal mediator was brought in to negotiate a settlement between the union and Sun Tran.

On an average weekday, Sun Tran makes about 60,000 passenger trips.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or Follow on Twitter @DarrenDaRonco

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