January 15, 2016
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Phoenix, Az—Drivers on Phoenix’s privatized bus routes went out on strike Jan. 8, demanding adequate bathroom breaks, more vacation time, and an end to the two-tier pay system. Transdev, their employer, cut off their health insurance before the strike vote Jan. 7, even though drivers had already paid for coverage through January and started paying for February.
“I’m just disgusted,” said bus driver Gilbert Balderas said, who suffers from multiple myeloma and had to stop taking his medicine because it costs $12,000 a month. “We’re human beings. Even if we have our differences, they have no integrity to do this to us.” A spokesperson for the company, which operates 34 of the metropolitan area’s 49 bus routes, said the workers had chosen to go out on strike knowing they were going to lose their insurance. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433’s other demands include bereavement time and uniform allowances for bus drivers. Read more