Phoenix Bus Union Calls for a Strike Starting at Midnight

Categories: Shop Talk


The Amalgamated Transit Union just called for a bus strike -- a call that comes after nearly two years of Phoenix bus drivers transporting about 71,289 passengers daily without a contract.

Veolia Transportation, the French-based company that nabbed a $388 million contract to operate city buses, has not reached any contract agreement with union leaders representing about 640 Phoenix bus drivers.

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Anti-Union Bills Sail Out of Arizona Senate Government Reform Committee

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Bloomberg View

Anti-union sentiments among Arizona's conservative politicos aren't letting up.

Four anti-union bills aimed at thwarting unions' existence in the public sector sailed out of the Senate's Government Reform committee on Wednesday.

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Phoenix City Council Delays Vote (Again) on Whether to Give Veolia Transportation a Break on Fines for Poor Performance

Categories: Shop Talk

New Times
Members of ATU Local 1433 protest
The Phoenix City Council has yet again postponed making a decision on whether to give Veolia Transportation, a company that operates city buses, a pass on fines assessed for poor performance.

Vice Mayor Michael Johnson made a motion to withdraw the item, and the council agreed 8 to 1. Councilman Jim Waring voted against withdrawing the item, asking during the meeting why the council didn't just deal with it.

The transit company has to pay fines to the city when it doesn't meet certain performance measures, including when buses are late, unkempt or simply don't show up to bus stops.

Waring said during the meeting that the only reason it wasn't getting voted on was because the "powers that be" didn't have the votes to get the measure passed. He said it was likely that item was just going to come back when Veolia execs did have the votes.

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Phoenix Bus Drivers to Protest and Picket at City Council Chambers; Still No Contract Between Workers, Transit Company

Categories: Shop Talk

Veolia Image.jpg

When Phoenix City Council consider on Wednesday slashing the fines for Veolia Transportation, the French company that operates city buses, the company's bus drivers will be outside protesting and picketing against it.

Union reps believe Phoenix bending over backwards to help a "foreign company," all the while that transit company is unwilling to work with union reps to hammer out a fair deal for bus drivers.

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Negotiations Between Bus Drivers and Transportation Company Not Looking Good; Potential Strike Still Looms

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Veolia executives not willing to reach fair contract for bus drivers, union leaders say
Union leaders trying to negotiate a contract for bus drivers in Phoenix and Tempe aren't making any progress with Veolia Transportation, the international firm that runs the cities bus operations.

"A strike appears to be inevitable," Michael Cornelius, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 tells New Times about the Phoenix contract. "For the entire year that the union has been trying to avoid a strike, Veolia has been pushing for a strike."

While executives with Veolia Transportation keep publicly saying the want to negotiate, union leaders say that corporate representatives are uninterested in reaching any common ground.

Both sides recently sat down to negotiate terms of their Tempe city bus contract.

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Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio Served With Claim By City Workers' Union Leader; Alleges Defamation, Invasion of Privacy. UPDATED

Categories: Shop Talk
AFSCME President James Tierney wants an apology from Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio
James Tierney, the president of a municipal workers' union in Phoenix has filed a claim against the City of Phoenix and Councilman Sal DiCiccio.

Tierney's claim, a prelude to a lawsuit, alleges that DiCiccio disseminated "false and misleading information" about him, placing him in a "false light," and "seriously invaded his privacy and the privacy of his family."

(Click here to read the claim)

Tierney, president of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Local 2384, is asking for a mere $1 in damages, his attorney's fees (about $3,500) and a public apology from the District 6 councilman.

Tierney says he's only asking for $1 in damages because "it's about accountability, it's not about the money."

DiCiccio sent out an e-mail blast to thousands of Phoenix residents on April 11, and it included links to police reports he filed after he says he received threatening faxes and discovered his car had been vandalized.

Tierney is listed in that police report as a person of interest in the threatening faxes incident even though the fax machine had no connection to Tierney's union. The police report included Tierney's home address, date of birth and other personal information.

DiCiccio tells New Times that he is sorry for the mistake. He said that there were links to the reports on his Website, but that he pulled them as soon as he was informed about the personal information included in the reports.

He says that he assumed that the police would have redacted any information that should not have been made public.

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Phoenix Bus Strike? What's Behind the Labor Disagreements Between Phoenix Bus Drivers and Veolia Tranportation Executives

Categories: Shop Talk
For more than a year, the union leaders representing more than 630 Phoenix bus drivers have been trying to hammer out a contract with Veolia Transportation executives.

Now those talks are expected to pick up again after Labor Day.

Veolia is the French transit company that landed a $383 million city-bus contract in July 2010 to operate 31 routes of the Valley's 100 bus routes.

The negotiations have been contentious, and on Tuesday night, nearly all of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433's voting members -- 96 percent of them-- shot down what those execs proposed as their "best and final" offer.More »

Bus Strike Authorized But Put on Hold; Union Leaders, Veolia Executives Expected to Resume Talks

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Bus drivers' strike on hold as talks resume
Veolia executives agreed to go back to the bargaining table with union leaders representing Phoenix bus drivers.

That means that a possible strike, which has received the blessing of union's international leadership, is going to be put on hold.

Michael Cornelius, vice president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, tells New Times their talks will pick up after Labor Day, per Veolia's request.

Veolia Transportation landed a $383 million contract with Phoenix in last year. While that contract called for a $25,000 per day fine per bus garage (Veolia operates two) for each day that workers are on strike.

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Bus Drivers Overwhelmingly Reject Veolia Transportation's Proposed Contract; No Strike Planned Yet

Bus drivers reject Veolia contract, authorize strike
Nearly all of the Phoenix bus drivers who turned out to vote on a labor contract proposed by Veolia Transportation rejected their offer and authorized a strike.

96 percent of voters said 'thanks, but no thanks' to Veolia's "best and final offer", which comes after about a year of labor negotiations.

Union officials report that nearly all of their 545 members cast a ballot, and say there has never been a greater turnout in the union's history.

For now, it's "return to work as normal" for bus driver as officers of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents Valley bus drivers, wait to hear back from Veolia executives.

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Bus Driver Strike In Phoenix? Union Reps Urging Members to Vote Down Labor Contract; Support Strike

Categories: Shop Talk
ATU Local 1433
A bus-driver strike may be looming in Phoenix, potentially disrupting at least 31 public-transit routes.

On Tuesday, officials with Veolia Transportation, a French-based company that operates those 31 bus routes, made their "best and final" offer the bus drivers' union.

Bob Bean, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, which represents bus drivers, is urging members to reject Veolia's offer. And in the absence of a contract, he also wants them to also vote to go on strike.

"For the last 14 months, we've been in a hard struggle with Veolia of Phoenix over contract negotiations," Bean says in a videotaped message to members. "Last Tuesday, they shoved the final and best offer across the table at us...The [union] negotiation committee is strongly recommending a 'no' vote on this contract."

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