Jul 30, 2010 8:52 PM
TUCSON - Public transportation in Tucson could come to a screeching halt on Monday.
A strike is looming for 550 Sun Tran employees, mostly bus drivers.
Joe Hernandez with Teamsters Local 104 says picket signs are ready should final contract negotiations break down Saturday. He says, "If it's not ratified we go out on strike Monday. Bus service will stop."
Sun Tran says limited bus service will be made available.
Hernandez says their campaign transition operations from the city to the Regional Transportation Authority has not happened. He says, "The issue behind this contract is we want to go with the RTA. They leave us no choice but to strike. This transition could have been done 12 months ago."
The last bus strike happened back in 2001 when employees went on strike for twelve days. They also went on strike in 1997.
Sun Tran spokesperson Michele Joseph says bus drivers are not the only employees who could be walking the picket lines. She says, "That includes, mechanics, fuel island mechanics. We also have people that maintain fair boxes, parts clerks, and custodians."
Joseph strongly advises those who rely on the bus, plan a different mode of transportation starting Monday morning. "We encourage people to carpool, bike, get creative should there be a strike," she says.
She says details on a limited bus service will be announced but the buses could be overcrowded and running behind.
Sun Tran issued the following statement:
"Sun Tran will keep the community updated on the status of the labor negotiations through local media outlets. Riders are urged to plan accordingly and identify potential transportation alternatives."
Should a strike be called, the City of Tucson and Parkwise will allow Sun Tran bus pass holders to park in certain parking lots in the downtown area at no charge. Drivers should display their current bus pass, excluding day passes and transfers, in the front window of their vehicle, and park in of the following lots:
• Catalina Lot located at 419 West Congress, on the southeast corner of I-10 at Congress Street.
• The unpaved lot located on the southeast corner of Stone Avenue at 6th Street.
For the latest information on possible service changes or for a list of alternate transportation options, call 792-9222 (TDD: 628-1565) or visit www.suntran.com.