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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson bus strike has come to a close

Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca
Sun Tran employees on strike with Teamsters Local Union 104 walk the 4400 block of Park Avenue outside of Tucson City Council Ward 5 office on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. Photo by: Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat

The 42-day Tucson bus strike has reached an end after Wednesday’s deal between SunTran workers and Professional Transit Management. 

According to the Arizona Daily Star, a deal was made for drivers to return back to work after members of Teamsters Local 104 agreed on a new contract with the SunTran city transit system. The vote stood 351-41, and drivers will receive a raise under the new deal. 

Further details about the new contract are not yet known at this time.

Because of the strike, bus routes were forced to close, causing delays in commutes for those who rely on the bus system. With this new deal in place, all bus routes are now running under the normal schedule. 

During the protest, Tucson locals were not the only ones affected. UA students who rely on the city bus system were left to find their own means of transportation. Students who do not own a car or have a driver’s license were also stranded during the hiatus. 

Kenny Bartz, a freshman studying English and philosophy, explained his experience with the 42-day SunTran strike. 

“Not having the buses to commute to school was a problem. I continuously had to look for rides from friends and try to get here myself,” Bartz said. “Now that the buses are up and running, I can go home at my leisure and not have to wait around and see if I can get a ride. The biggest infringement on my schedule was the fact that I couldn’t commute anywhere—not just to school, but I couldn’t get around.”     

Despite the inconvenience, Bartz explained his feelings of sympathy towards the city employees and understanding for the strike.

“It didn’t harm me so much in other ways. I did sympathize with the workers,” Bartz said. “I had hoped that it would work out for them … and that they would reach a compromise.”

The 42-day strike began Aug. 6, when 530 bus drivers and other city employees refused to work after a failed agreement with SunTran and before the expiration of the previous contract. City employees urged for a revised contract with an emphasis on better safety for the bus drivers. 

In a report from the Associated Press, Andrew Marshall, the principal officer of Teamsters Local 104, said that 22 drivers had been victims of assault within the last 13 months. 

At 42 days, the strike has been the longest-recorded bus strike in Tucson history. Other SunTran strikes took place in 1997, 2001 and 2010, with the previous strike record being 10 days, AP reported  

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