Jul 31, 2013 6:30 PM by Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) - Hundreds of bus drivers were voting Wednesday whether to go on strike at midnight and shut down public transportation in several Phoenix-area cities.
Transit-union leaders rejected a final offer Monday from bus company operator First Transit.
A strike would stop bus service on 40 routes in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert plus some routes in Scottsdale and Ahwatukee Foothills, and express service from those communities to downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 represents about 400 drivers. First Transit operates buses for the Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority.
The strike voting follows more than a month of contentious labor negotiations.
Union officials say First Transit asked drivers to accept significant hikes in health-care contributions and wants to give Valley Metro RPTA greater rights to fire union members.