Tucson’s 42-day Transit Strike Ends


Teamsters Local 104’s strike against SunTran/Transdev, the City of Tucson’s public transit system, ended on Sept. 16, 2015, 42 days after it began on Aug. 6, 2015.

Teamsters Local 104’s rank and file negotiating committee reached a tentative agreement with Professional Transit Management (PTM) a wholly-owned subsidiary of Transdev, at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning after five consecutive days of negotiations amid mounting public outrage condemning PTM/Transdev for bringing in out-of-state scab replacement workers who had been signed to lucrative employment contracts guaranteeing them wages, lodging, airfare and meals. The total cost per scab came to more than triple what even the highest-paid Teamster driver on strike would make for performing the exact same work, in an unsuccessful attempt to break the strike.

On Thurs., Sept. 17, 2015, the striking SunTran Teamsters ratified the new collective bargaining agreement by a vote of 351-41, ended the 42-day strike, and returned to work Thursday morning, Sept. 17, 2015.

The courage, strength, determination and solidarity of the 469 Teamster members working at SunTran can only be described as extraordinary, historic and inspirational given Arizona’s long history of pro-business, anti-worker, right-to-work legislation.

The SunTran bargaining unit consists of a total of 530 Teamster-represented employees, 469 Teamster members and 61 non-union employees. When the strike began 469 Teamsters and 31 non-union employees walked off the job and after 42 days of walking the picket lines while enduring Arizona’s searing summer heat and temperatures that routinely exceeded 105 degrees, there were still 463 Teamsters proudly walking the picket lines with 30 non-union employees still honoring the picket lines with many also walking picket duty.

The new two-year $4.36 million dollar agreement that was ratified improves dramatically upon the previously rejected three-year $2.7 million dollar firm and final offer and resulted in immediate action by Tucson’s City Manager to remediate and resolve once and for all the serious mold contamination that exists in SunTran’s north facility and on the buses and also resulted in immediate action by the City Manager to order and install Plexiglas partitions in buses on selected routes identified as being greater risks to driver safety.

The agreement provides for day one raises for all employees ranging from $0.30 per hour for some employees to more than $5.00 per hour for other employees, as well as paying for 100 percent of the monthly health and welfare premiums for all employees. Each employee will receive a one-time lump sum payment of $3,303.37 within one week of ratification.

Finally, the agreement contains provisions requiring an annual distribution of any savings/efficiencies realized from SunTran’s annual budget which provides every employee the potential to receive additional hourly wage, or hourly pension increases in October of each year.

Teamsters Local 104’s Executive Board and staff, as well as the each and every one of the 463 dedicated Teamsters of SunTran, would like to convey our deepest gratitude and sincerest thanks to each and every one of the thousands of Teamster brothers and sisters and the thousands of sympathetic individuals and businesses who provided our striking members and the local with every type of assistance and support conceivable. These included: financial donations, financial assistance, food donations, logistical and manpower support, legal assistance, media exposure and finally, the constant assistance in keeping the morale and spirits of our striking members from ever wavering.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.