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Actors in Bus-A-Geddon have every incentive to let Sun Tran strike happen, again

If past is prologue, talks over a new Tucson transit deal are going to get ugly as labor and management resume their dance. Sun Tran's contract with the Teamsters will run out July 31, and the parties aren't talking much about if they're even talking. Will the city move to forestall yet another bus strike?... Read more»

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5 comments on this story

1
1762 comments
Jun 1, 2017, 4:59 pm
-0 +0

The problem with most leaders in this region, and not just in the City, is that they never think about tomorrow. Or, on the rare occasions that they do, they don’t think about the day after. There’s no planning. Everything is just flying by the seat of their pants, never getting in front of anything. The situation around Sun Tran is no different.

I’ve never been able to wrap my head around why the CoT doesn’t run Sun Tran themselves. If they’re going to spend $44m on something every year, isn’t that operation really too big to be trusted to outsiders? And, if that’s illegal, then we need to focus on changing the law that makes that illegal. Time for common sense to prevail.

2
524 comments
Jun 2, 2017, 12:50 pm
-0 +1

The city hires a management firm to run the bus system because public sector unions in Tucson cannot go on strike. But, U.S. law prohibits transit systems that receive federal grants from interfering with workers’ organizing rights. The feds give Tucson about $5 million annually for Sun Tran.

3
76 comments
Jun 2, 2017, 12:50 pm
-0 +0

It’s not illegal for CoT to run Sun Tran, however to get the federal money the union members must be allowed to strike. No big deal, except I believe that the city’s charter does not allow public employees to go on strike. So either we could forgo the federal money (not sure how much that is compared to the 44mil CoT already puts in) or we’d have to change the city charter to allow all public employees to go on strike and that seems beyond outlandish.

4
76 comments
Jun 2, 2017, 12:53 pm
-0 +0

Oh well there you have it, thanks Dylan. So is $5mil worth it? That’s 11.4% of the CoT’s subsidy, sizable but not enormous.

5
1762 comments
Jun 2, 2017, 4:27 pm
-1 +0

Well, I guess the city charter needs to be fixed…and not just with the primary/not primary election system, either.

I always thought, and always will think, that any law anywhere prohibiting workers from striking is absolutely ludicrous. If a group of workers decide not to show up to work any more until their demands are met, who in the world is going to stop them? What are you going to do? Force them to go back to work? That would be a 13th Amendment violation.

If Sun Tran was run by the city, their workers could still strike by coming down with their version of the “Blue flu”. “Bus flu”, maybe? Anyway, that’s a way around that ridiculous part of the city charter.

Besides all that…we’ve been looking at this all wrong all these years. Driving a bus is not quantum physics; I’m pretty sure a large percentage of the Tucson region’s work force is either qualified to do it, or can become so in a very short amount of time. If the bus drivers go on strike…replace them. Seriously, how hard is that? Didn’t president Reagan employ a similar tactic during his term when air traffic controllers went on strike?

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Striking Sun Tran workers walking the picket line in 2015.

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