PHOENIX - A strike is affecting more than half of the buses that run in the city. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 announced that drivers rejected a contract offer by the Transdev company.
Drivers hit the picket lines at midnight and the strike halted bus service on 34 routes operated by Transdev beginning at 5:00 a.m. on Friday.
Most of the stops are along Central Avenue, 7th Street and 7th Avenue. Limited service is being provided in five of the 34 routes, but there could be waits of an hour or more between buses.
We're told that 91 percent of union members voted in favor of walking off the job.
Transdev says it offered a deal that includes a three percent pay raise, totalling to a 15 percent pay raise over five years. The union has proposed a health insurance plan.
Transdev officials spoke about the negotiations and said the biggest obstacle is something as simple as going to the bathroom, but the union says Transdev has provided them with false information and simply won't negotiate.
"The company has identified over 400 different locations across 34 routes that we offer and we've gone and talked to the businesses and specifically made arrangements that restroom facilities would be available at over 400 locations," said Katrina Heineking, a general manager at Trandev.
Transdev officials met with union representatives but a mediator recessed the negotiations. Transdev issued the following statement:
"At the request of the Mayor, we met with ATU 1433 leadership. At today’s negotiations, the union presented demands that reintroduced items costing millions of dollars that were no longer on the table as of Tuesday night when negotiations broke down. Due to this adverse turn of events, the federal mediator recessed negotiations subject to recall.
Transdev will continue to negotiate in good faith by keeping our very generous offer on the table, which is a 3% increase per year for 5 years, totaling almost 16%, with excellent benefits, on average wages of $56,000. Again, we sincerely apologize to the pubic for the major inconvenience caused by this strike. We are diligently working to get out as much service as we can, as quickly possible. "
Meanwhile, service on 20 other routes operated by First Transit is not affected and neither is the light rail service.
Passengers can check the status of possible bus service disruptions at www.phoenix.gov/publictransit. Customers can get additional information on impacts to service by visiting valleymetro.org, or by calling Valley Metro Customer Service at 602-253-5000.
The department says routes 0, 7, 19, 27, 35, 50 and 70 are running but that frequency between buses is an hour or more.
39-40th Street North Phoenix
The SMART (Sunnyslope) and DASH (downtown) circulators and all RAPID commuter routes: Central South Mountain East; Central South Mountain West; I-10 East, I-10 West, I-17 and SR-51.
I demand that ATU & Transdev continue to negotiate through the strike & expect them back at the table in AM. Disappointed it's come to this.— Greg Stanton (@MayorStanton) January 8, 2016