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Press Releases

Wed, Jul 24, 2013

Former Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor to Observe Bus Labor Negotiations

PHOENIX, AZ – On behalf of Valley Metro, Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor (ret.) will serve as an independent observer in the Friday, July 26, labor negotiations between First Transit and ATU 1433.

“Chief Justice McGregor has a track record of success,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.  “I have full confidence that with her help we can keep the buses running for the people of our region.”

The Hon. McGregor retired in 2009 as chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, which she first joined in 1998.  Chief Justice McGregor is a former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  Her legal practice before joining the bench included civil trial, administrative and appellate work, with an eventual specialty in the area of employment law.  She is well-respected within the legal community and has a long history of community service in the Phoenix area.

First Transit, Valley Metro’s East Valley bus operator, and ATU 1433, the bus operator’s union, have been in labor negotiations since the first of the year to define their Collective Bargaining Agreement consisting of operator wages, benefits and work rules.  On July 2, the two parties agreed to a 30-day extension through July 31 to continue labor discussions.  The last scheduled negotiation date is this Friday.

“It is imperative that ATU and First Transit continue to meet to find a resolution to avoid a bus strike,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell.  “I encourage both parties to stay at the table in the best interest of our residents, businesses and passengers.”

On July 1, First Transit assumed responsibility for the operations of 40 local, express and circulator routes primarily serving the East Valley.  First Transit also supports an operations and maintenance staff of more than 700, including 500+ operators, and a bus fleet of 300. 

Valley Metro continues to urge the two parties to put their best people at the table to actively negotiate and come to an agreement before impacting riders.

“The importance of public transportation to our residents and to the business community cannot be overstated,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.  “The focus has always been to offer the best service possible to our riders while, at the same time, operating it in the most efficient way possible.  Our main goal is to prevent any interruption in service to our riders and we are optimistic that Justice McGregor’s involvement will help to accomplish that objective.”

The most up-to-date rider information is available at www.valleymetro.org or via Facebook and Twitter.  Customer Service is always a resource at 602.253.5000.

About Valley Metro: Valley Metro provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County including the planning and operations of a regional bus system and the development and operations of light rail. In calendar year 2012, total ridership for the system was 72.5 million passengers—an increase of 3.8 percent over 2011. The first 20 miles of light rail opened December 2008. Six light rail extensions are planned or under construction that will create a 57-mile system by 2032. Valley Metro also offers transit options including commuter vanpools, online carpool matching, bus trip mapping, bicycle safety and telework assistance. Two Boards of Directors set the policy direction for the agency with the intent of advancing the regional public transit system. Get the latest news by following us on Facebook and Twitter or visiting valleymetro.org.

 




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