Tucson Starts Another Weekend Without Bus Service As Strike Continues

By Kate Sheehy
August 22, 2015

TUCSON, Ariz.- More than 500 bus drivers and mechanics from Tucson’s public transportation system Sun Tran continue to strike. It's now the longest on record at 16 days on Friday. The workers’ union held a rally, while residents prepared for another weekend without bus service.

Sun Tran employees are striking over assaults on bus drivers, mold contamination on buses and wages. Andrew Marshall is with the Teamsters Local 104 Union. He said he’s disappointed the strike has gone on this long. 

"Yeah, it’s not exactly a record that anyone is proud of," he said. "In my 18 years as the principal officer, this is my 8th negotiation and 3rd strike with Sun Tran."

Marshall said that the union understands the strike is having a devastating impact on people who rely on the buses as their sole means of transportation. But he said that Sun Tran has refused to return to the negotiating table. 

Sun Tran says it provides about 66,000 bus rides on an average weekday.

Kandi Young is with Sun Tran and said reaching an agreement will really come down to pay. She said the union has reduced its demand from about $20 million more over three years to $11 million.

"Sun Tran’s proposal is at a $2.7 million increase, so the two sides are still far apart, but Sun Tran’s management would like to sit down and talk about those proposals," she said. 

Young said the company continues working with the federal mediator to schedule a meeting with the union.