Time running out for Sun Tran negotiations with union - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Time running out for Sun Tran negotiations with union

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TUCSON – Sun Tran and the employees’ union, Teamsters Local 104, are still negotiating to avoid a bus strike.

Their contract expires Friday at midnight. Union members, who are mostly bus drivers, are expected to vote on a new deal Saturday. If the union rejects the contract, a strike may follow.

Signs at bus stations warn riders about the negotiations.

Richard Crowser was waiting for a bus at the Ronstadt Transit Center Thursday evening. He said the strike in 2010 cost him his job.

“I’m praying they don't go on strike again,” Crowser said. “Because I can't afford another one.”

About 9 percent of Sun Tran’s budget comes from federal grants. Because of that funding, employees have to have the right to strike. The City of Tucson is legally not allowed to be involved in the negotiations.

Joyce Arnett got off a Downtown bus Thursday evening. She said she remembers paying money she could not afford on cab fare in the last work stoppage.

“One of my jobs, I totally depend upon bus,” Arnett said. “So that would greatly impact my lifestyle.”

Sun Tran’s budget is about $58.9 million annually. About 20 percent of that comes from rider fares. The company spends the majority of its budget, about 62 percent, on labor.

A strike would not affect the Sun Link streetcar.

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