Monday, March 12, 2012

Bus Strike In Phoenix

Friday at midnight, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 in Phoenix went on strike against Veolia Transportation Services. Veolia has a contract to run about 67% of the the bus routes in Phoenix. As of Saturday, only about 21% of all the bus routes were running.

Mine is not a multi-modal commute, so a bus strike doesn't affect me directly. It does affect all of us indirectly, because a lot of employers will have difficulty maintaining their level of service if their employees can't get to work, or get to work late.

The strike is not about wages and benefits, but about a contract negotiation Veolia is working on with the City of Phoenix. My understanding is that Veolia is trying to modify their contract to limit the amount of liquidated damages they would pay as a result of not meeting certain service obligations. The people who would pay for this modification would be the bus operators, since Veolia would, essentially, be able to shift blame to the operators in order to reduce the amount of damages they pay.

If this is true, then it is a great example of how unions work to fight abuses by big corporations by giving workers a unified, powerful voice they would otherwise not have.

1 comment:

  1. Good post, I see in a follow-up news article the buses are running again and the union defense of driver and public safety has prevailed.