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Aug 3, 2014 1:29 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Sun Tran workers reject offer, closer to strike

TUCSON - Sun Tran employees have rejected the contract offered by the city's bus system.

Saturday evening, more than 70 percent of Teamsters Local 104 members rejected Sun Tran's "last, best and final offer," according to the union's Principal Executive Officer, Andy Marshall.

Their current deal expires at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. That does not necessarily mean they are going on strike.

"It depends on what happens between now and then," Marshall said. "We would like to do everything possible to avoid a strike, but we also need an equitable settlement for the people who work there. And that's been a long time coming. So the overwhelming rejection shows their displeasure."

Drivers' pay has been frozen for 2 years. New drivers are hired at $13.30 per hour, and 136 are stuck at that rate. In the past, after 4 years, drivers would make the top rate of about $18 per hour. Those drivers have only gotten a 19-cent raise in the past 5 years, according to Marshall.

Marshall said this is not just about money. The union also wants to negotiate disciplinary action and other items in the deal.

After the vote, Marshall said he called Sun Tran's general manager and she is still willing to talk.

The union also includes mechanics, ticket window employees and everybody else who works for Sun Tran.

This would not affect Sun Link, the city's streetcar.

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