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Tucson bus strike ends after union vote
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Full Sun Tran service resumes

Tucson bus strike ends after union vote

The 42-day Tucson bus strike ended Wednesday when drivers, mechanics and other members of Teamsters Local 104 voted to accept a new contract.

The vote was 351-41, an 89 percent approval, said Teamsters Local 104 President Andy Marshall.

Everyone gets a raise under the new contract, he said, but he wouldn’t release contract details, saying he didn’t want to inflame opinions of people who are angry about the strike.

Professional Transit Management, the contracted operator of the city’s Sun Tran bus system, also would not give details about the contract.

There were no additional city tax dollars in the deal, which stays within the approved city budget for Sun Tran, Marshall said. Additional details were not immediately available.

Sun Tran buses will be back to a normal schedule starting Thursday, Sept. 17. During the strike, the number of buses and bus routes was limited, making for long waits in the heat.

Since the strike began, the Tucson Unified School District has been providing bus service to high school students who rely on Sun Tran to get to class. Though full Sun Tran service is resuming, TUSD will continue to transport those students through the end of the week, said spokeswoman Stefanie Boe.

Marshall said he is proud of the union members who stuck it out for six weeks on strike.

“We got what we needed. We didn’t get everything we wanted,” he said.

Although the Teamsters are back at work, they won’t get a paycheck for two more weeks. People helped each other during the strike and those charity programs will continue, Marshall said.

Negotiating committee member Dan Linhart sang the praises of Tucson City Manager Mike Ortega for pledging to solve the mold and driver-assault issues the union wanted addressed.

Linhart said the union is glad to have someone “willing to deal with us straight-up,” adding that was lacking in the relationship with the city in the past.

Ortega said he is bringing in a team of engineers to identify the root cause of mold in a Sun Tran building. “I want the problem fixed. I don’t want it assessed,” he said Wednesday after the union vote.

He’s also launching a pilot program to put partitions between drivers and passengers on some routes that have caused the most concern about assaults on drivers.

Ortega said he’s glad the strike is over because it was a rough and challenging time for the community.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@tucson.com or 573-4346. On Twitter: @BeckyPallack


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