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Phoenix bus driver union’s proposed strike put on hold

(KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

PHOENIX — After a union that provides bus drivers to the city of Phoenix said it would go on strike beginning at midnight on Monday, that strike was put on hold late Monday night.

The strike would disrupt bus service for nearly three dozen routes throughout Phoenix.

In a press conference, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 said it would strike after failing to reach a deal with Transdev, one of the city’s contracted bus service providers. However, the union decided to put the strike on hold after some progress was made in negotiations.

“Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 has placed a hold on pending strike actions but remains ready, at a moments notice, to take action if negotiations deteriorate,” ATU Vice President Bob Hykaway said in a release.

The union had accused Transdev of unfair labor practices. Other issues of contention include changes to an employee payment system and using vouchers in place of a uniform allowance.

Many riders were relieved to hear bus service would continue, especially with Phoenix expected to receive rainy weather this week.

“It would mean I would have to drive everyday with increased traffic and frustration,” rider June Baddorf said of the strike. “It would be an economic downfall. I save $200 every month [riding the bus] even though I have an economical car.”

In a statement, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton called the pending strike a disappointment and demanded both sides continue negotiations to reach a deal as long as the strike continues.

“Both Transdev and (Amalgamated Transit Union) owe that to the thousands of residents who take these 34 bus routes to get to work, school, and doctor’s appointments every day,” the statement read.

Prior to the proposed strike, former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor was hired to act as a mediator in the dispute.

“Phoenix residents deserve uninterrupted transit service, and both sides have a responsibility to get work and reach a deal,” Stanton said at the time. “I’m very grateful to Chief Justice McGregor for agreeing to mediate toward a resolution.”

Previous bargaining agreements expired at the end of June.

The strike would come at a poor time for Phoenix, as the national college football championship is scheduled to be played in the Valley next week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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