The current contract that Sun Tran and Teamsters Local 104 have expires on June 30 at midnight. And with that date looming, both parties are still trying to come to an agreement on a new contract.
Sun Tran's Director of Marketing & Communications Pat Richter explained he thinks the negotiations are moving forward in a way that'll work for all parties, even though they haven't yet agreed on a new contract.
"Sun Tran and the Teamsters Union, we don't have a contract in place yet, but we've been working really hard for the better part of the month," he said.
Contract negotiations continue b/t Sun Tran & the union that reps many of the employees...I'll explain some of the possible outcomes at 10 pic.twitter.com/uglb4mPlDP
— Max Darrow (@MaxDarrowTV) June 30, 2017
Teamsters Local 104 represents many of the employees at Sun Tran, including bus drivers, fuel islanders, and mechanics. With the expiration date looming and still no new contract, members of the union are trying to figure out how to move forward. The first step in that process is set for Saturday.
Thursday evening, the group released this statement on it's official Facebook page:
"On Saturday our meeting will either be an update on our negotiations, a Strike Authorization vote or a Ratification vote for our contract, or all three depending upon results of our talks on June 30, 2017."
Two years ago, the union authorized a strike that lasted 42 days. Richter explained that is something that Sun Tran would like to avoid if possible.
"Sun Tran really wants to avoid a strike, and I think the Teamsters Union does too," he said. "It didn't work for anyone the last time."
This time around, he said they are using a third-party negotiator to help with the talks.
However, there are other players involved with this situation as well: Tucsonans who rely on the bus. One person explained he takes the bus across town every day to and from work, and is hopeful there won't be a strike.
"It's a long ride," Thomas Brown said.
While he said he wants the best for everyone involved, both the employees and the company, he doesn't want people to forget about everyone who needs the service to run regularly.
"Drivers need their security and their safety, and I know that everybody is on a crunch because of the budgets and all," Brown said. "But keep them running. There's a lot of people depending on it."
The union meetings will take place at 8:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m., at IBEW 750, located at 750 S. Tucson Blvd.