PHOENIX (KSAZ) - ATU bus drivers say their healthcare benefits have been cut off since they went on strike last Friday.
"I was told by the pharmacist when I went to pick up my son's prescription, he takes three pills every day and has for the past six years, that my benefits were cut off and we were not able to fill his prescription," Bus driver Robert Cummings said. "It's $340. I cannot afford to do that."
The union is locked in contract negotiations with Transdev, one of the private companies hired by the City of Phoenix, to operate bus routes.
Former Tempe mayor Hugh Hallman says he was brought in by a political leader to hep figure out the negotiations.
"I have a dream today, that we solve this strike for all of the citizens of this city, so that they can get to their doctor's appointments, so that they can get to their jobs," he said.
Mike Hartmann went on strike Friday and he is worried about his son's medical care.
"He's due for his nine-month shots and I paid for medical insurance out of my check," he said. "They took it out of my check and now if I go there it's probably going to cost me out-of-pocket and I don't have that cash because I'm not working," he said.
Transdev sent out a letter to employees prior to the strike, telling them their insurance coverage would end when the strike begins.
"I just feel said, I'm not even mad, I just feel said and cheated," Hartmann said. "I mean, we paid for it, why not have it?"
It's not just the drivers, but also riders who say they're affected by the strike.
"Not only are they suffering, but I'm suffering, so shame on you," Armando Gomez said.
The union says they will continue the strike until negotiations are worked out. Transdev says because drivers are not working right now, they are not able to contribute to their 401k, but can still access their accounts.