East Valley Buses Back On the Road, Compromise Ends 4-Day Strike

Categories: Shop Talk

ATU Local 1433 members during 2012 protest over its Phoenix bus contract.
Buses were back on the road today in the East Valley and portions of South Phoenix after union leaders reached a compromise with First Transit executives.

The four-day strike ended, in part, after company officials agreed during a 32-hour session with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 to eliminate from the bus driver's contract a clause that would have allowed them to fire employees at will without giving them an opportunity to appeal the decision.

But, the picketing has ended and the 40 routes or so affected in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and parts of Scottsdale and Phoenix by the strike are back in service.

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East Valley Bus-Drivers Strike Nearly Averted, But Drivers Now Gear Up for Picket Lines

Categories: Shop Talk


It appeared just moments before midnight that a bus-driver strike expected to affect thousands of Valley bus passengers had been averted.

But no go.

A last-minute deal fell through, says Bob Bean, a union leader of the Amalgamated Transit Union representing East Valley bus operators.

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Pinal County Judge Dismisses PCSO Lieutenant's Lawsuit Against New Times Over "Camp Titties and Beer" Coverage

A Pinal County judge dismissed a lawsuit against New Times, which had been filed over stories on this blog about a member of Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's command staff apparently trying to scrub an arrest record from a DPS database.

PCSO Lieutenant Blake King filed the lawsuit, alleging New Times writer Monica Alonzo was libelous in her reporting of the arrest of Ronald Keys at a spot dubbed "Camp Titties and Beer" inside the Country Thunder musical festival in 2011. Judge Bradley Soos did not agree with King's allegations, and granted a motion to dismiss the case.

See also:
-"Camp Titties and Beer," a Country Thunder Campground Occupied by Tucson Police Officers is Where a DPS Office Was Attacked. Paul Babeu's Office Wanted This Covered Up

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East Valley Tribune Unveils Talking Monkey That Doesn't Like the Arizona Republic

"Guys, I have an idea..."
It looks like Valley news outlets are trying to capitalize on the Arizona Republic's new online paywall -- just ask the East Valley Tribune monkey that's talking on the banana phone.

Of course, the Trib had a rough go with its financial issues, but maybe the talking monkey will do it for 'em.

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Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Halts Phoenix From Paying Cops to Conduct Union Work, Decision Applies Only to Contract Expiring June 30

Categories: Shop Talk
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Maricopa County Judge Katherine Cooper granted a preliminary injunction on Tuesday halting contract provisions that allows Phoenix police union officials to conduct union work while they're on the clock.


"The city received the judge's order this morning and currently is reviewing it," spokeswoman Toni Maccarone tells New Times.

The Goldwater Institute, a local conservative think-tank, filed a lawsuit in December 2011 over release time for union leaders. As part of their agreement with the city, union officials are "released" from police duties to conduct union business but remain on the city's payroll.

But the Institute's legal victory will be a short one since it only applies to the current contract, which is going to expire on June 30.

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New Times Writers and Designers Up for Six National Journalism Awards

Categories: Shop Talk
New Times has come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass -- and we're all out of bubblegum.

New Times
writers and designers have been nominated sixfold for this year's Association of Alternative Newsmedia's AltWeekly Awards.

This comes a month after raking in 30 journalism awards, including first places for investigative reporting, immigration coverage, news and opinion blogging, and design from the Arizona Press Club.

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New Times' Staff Writers and Designers Receive Top Honors from Arizona Press Club, Including for Investigative Reporting, Immigration Coverage, and Cover Illustrations

Categories: Shop Talk

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Phoenix New Times won 30 journalism awards, including first-place awards for investigative reporting, immigration coverage, news and opinion blogging and design, from the Arizona Press Club on Saturday night.

Staff writer Paul Rubin received a first place Don Bolles Award for Investigative Reporting for "Hell Hole," (September 1, 2011), described by judges as "a deeply disturbing picture, meticulously and thoroughly reported, written with clarity and purpose."

Columnist Stephen Lemons' "Feathered Bastard" took a first place in the News Blog category. Judges wrote that Lemons' blog was "fueled by a strong sense of outrage, buttressed by firsthand reporting and presented in an easily digestible, straightforward style."

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Phoenix Officials Slash Poor Performance Fees For Veolia Executives; Tit-for-Tat Deal Expected to End Six-Day Bus Strike

Categories: Shop Talk

Buses in Phoenix are expected to start rolling again on Friday.

Phoenix gave Veolia Transportation executives what they wanted today, a steep reduction in poor-performance fees and a reimbursement of nearly $800,000 worth of fees to the French-based transit company. And now, Veolia is giving the union what it wants.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton brokered the tit-for-tat deal, effectively ending the Phoenix bus strike that started midnight on March 9. The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 and Veolia execs are expected to reach a deal and resume bus service Friday morning.

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Bus Strike Over? Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton Says It's Expected to End on Friday

Categories: Shop Talk

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Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton announced today that a bus strike that has disrupted service throughout the Valley will likely come to a close on Friday.

Both sides -- the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, which represents bus drivers in Phoenix and Tempe, and Veolia Transportation, the transit company that employs the drivers -- are once again at the negotiating table trying to hammer out a contract deal for drivers.

"Late last night, they reached a handshake agreement on their contract, and we believe that bus service ... is going to be beginning again very, very soon," Stanton said during a press conference this morning. "If everything works out today it looks like service to the people of Phoenix will be provided Friday morning."

Phoenix drivers went on strike midnight on March 9, and were later joined by Tempe drivers.

But why is the week-long strike expected to end on Friday?

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Veolia Execs Shouldn't Be Surprised By Bus Drivers' Strike; Feds Found Merit to Union Claims that Veolia Reps Bargaining in Bad-Faith

Categories: Shop Talk

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For nearly two years, Veolia executives have sat across the table from union representatives for Phoenix bus drivers in an attempt to hammer out an employment contract for workers.

No deals have been reached, and finally, union officials called for a strike on Friday night.

Tempe bus drivers -- who are also Veolia employees represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union -- joined the strike because they have also not reached a contract agreement with the French-based transit company.

Veolia reps say that are surprised by the strike.

Surprised? After two years of failed negotiations?

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