Thursday, December 27, 2012

Phoenix Valley Metro avoids strike

Phoenix's Valley Metro said a potential work stoppage has been averted and light-rail service will run as normal on New Year's Eve.

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1433 and light-rail operations contractor, Alternate Concepts, Inc. (ACI), have agreed to continue labor negotiations, keeping light-rail operators on the job under existing work conditions.

ATU and ACI have both agreed to submit their issues to binding arbitration where the decision of the arbitrator will be final. The arbitration process will begin in early 2013.

"I'm pleased that these discussions will continue because it's critical that our light-rail system keeps running and that service is provided across the region," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, chairman of the Valley Metro Rail Board. "I have spoken to both sides on this issue and I stand ready to work with them toward a long-term resolution."

The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the ATU and ACI expired on June 30, 2012. Two 90-day extensions have occurred to allow for greater discussion; the second extension is set to end on December 31, 2012. The agreement will continue the terms of the current CBA until a new agreement can be reached in 2013.

"We are relieved that our passengers will not be affected, especially this holiday season," said Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta. "Both ACI and the Union representing our operators have been instrumental in the success of our light rail system and delivering a service that is of value to nearly 50,000 riders a day."

ACI has served as Valley Metro Rail's operations contractor since 2006. There are currently 47 operators employed by ACI who provide Valley residents with safe, reliable light-rail service.

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