September 22, 2015
By John Quinn
Tucsan, Arizona – Teamsters Local 104's strike against SunTran, Tucson's public transit system, ended on Sept. 16, 2015, 42 days after it began on Aug. 6, 2015. The union reached a tentative agreement with Professional Transit Management (PTM) a wholly-owned subsidiary of SunTran.
During the strike the company tried to break the union 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 Thursday September 17, 2015, the striking SunTran Teamsters ratified the new collective bargaining agreement. The courage, strength, determination and solidarity of the Teamster members working at SunTran was extraordinary particularly since Arizona has a long history of pro-business, anti-worker, right-to-work legislation.
When the strike began, all the Teamsters as well as non-union employees walked off the job. After 42 days of walking the picket lines while enduring Arizona's searing summer heat and temperatures that routinely exceeded 105 degrees, the strike ended.
The new two-year $4.36 million dollar ratified agreement improves working conditions and provides raises for all employees ranging from $0.30 per hour to more than $5.00 per hour depending on titles and years on the job. There is also a profit sharing provision. The company will be paying for 100 percent of the monthly health and welfare premiums for all employees. In addition, each employee will receive a one-time lump sum payment of $3,303.37 as a contract signing bonus.