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Fri, Dec 21, 2012

Light Rail Strike Averted

PHOENIX, AZ – Light rail service will run as normal on New Year’s Eve; the potential for a work stoppage has been averted.  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.  Today’s 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. 

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 METRO light rail. In fiscal year 2012, total ridership for the system was 71 million passengers. The first 20-miles of light rail opened December 2008 and served 13.5 million riders in 2012 exceeding the prior year by six percent.  Six light rail extensions are under way 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. A board of 16 governments sets the policy direction for the agency and works to improve and regionalize the public transit system.

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