January 10, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Phoenix, AZ- About 90 minutes before 650 of the city’s bus drivers were set to go on strike Jan. 4, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 leaders announced they were putting the walkout “on hold” to continue negotiations with Transdev, the private company that runs 34 of Phoenix’s 49 bus routes.
However, in a Jan. 5 Facebook post after the company’s “best and final” offer, Local 1433 said, “the bargaining committee completely recommends that you REJECT this offer. The changes were not enough to fix the issues on the table.” One sticking point is adequate bathroom breaks. “Many operators wear diapers because they can’t use the bathroom regularly,” ATU lead negotiator Michael Cornelius said at a press conference. He and Local 1433 President Bob Bean said Transdev has refused to negotiate on any important or “substantive” issues. “We could have avoided this situation if Transdev wasn’t running the show,” Bean said. “The idea of contracting is to save the city money, but clearly Transdev is out of control, and the city has been unable to exert the kind of necessary pressure.” Read more