**Update 1/15/15 3 pm: A statement from Valley Metro confirms that "union members have approved a new collective bargaining agreement and will return to work Saturday."
A tentative agreement has been reached to end the Phoenix bus strike, Mayor Greg Stanton announced early Friday morning in a tweet.
He released no details or specifics about the negotiation, but said the striking union workers will vote on the agreement today so that regular bus service can resume by Saturday.
The Valley Metro System confirms the news, writing in a statement that "A tentative agreement has been reached... Bus operators will return to work on Saturday, January 16, if union members approve the deal during a Friday vote."
Drivers with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 went on strike last Friday after months of failed contract negotiations with Transdev, the international transportation company that operates 34 of the 49 bus lines in Phoenix.
As New Times reported earlier this week, Trasdev cut off pay and healthcare for striking drivers, but drivers were adamant that they wouldn't cave on or go back to work until a deal was reached.
Immediately after news of the strike was announced, Stanton expressed his "disappointment" in a public statement:
"I demand that, as long as the strike continues, both sides stay at the negotiating table and work to reach a deal. Both Transdev and ATU owe that to the thousands of residents who take these 34 bus routes to get to work, school, and doctor’s appointments every day."
According to the city, ATU leaders and Trasdev officials have met continuously throughout the last week to hammer out a deal amenable to both sides — sticking points have included health care and other benefits, wages, retirement plans, bereavement time, and bathroom breaks.
“Many operators wear diapers because they can’t use the bathroom regularly,” Michael Cornelius, head negotiator for ATU said at a recent press conference.
He and other union leaders say Transdev has continuously used “boilerplate language” to gloss over “non-substantive issues" and ignore driver grievances.
This is the sixth bus strike to occur in Phoenix during the last five years, and could cost the city millions of dollars.
Just after midnight, we reached agreement to END THE BUS STRIKE! Will be voted tomorrow. Regular service starts Sat. pic.twitter.com/Abjx5AxXOn— Greg Stanton (@MayorStanton) January 15, 2016
We will keep you updated as new information becomes available.
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