The Phoenix bus drivers’ union says progress is slowly being made at the bargaining table. But Transdev, the company they’re haggling with, is also fining the A-T-U Local 1433 $25,000 dollars a day for each day workers are on strike. The France-based firm has also cut off employee health insurance.

Driver Don Ameden, among those reeling from the hardship as he shares his plight during a Wednesday press conference outside Phoenix City Hall. Slamming the suspension of health care as “union busting”, he says he now can’t afford to buy medication for his daughter. Others report their pharmacies would not sell them prescriptions under their insurance plan prices, facing retail costs upwards of over $400 and $500 to obtain them. An especially steep price for drivers whose incomes are now on hold.

Ex Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, who’s acting as an intermediary for the union, says, if Transdev would only agree to the A-T-U’s call for $500,000 dollars spread out over 5 years, the strike could end now.  He claims this based on Transdev’s resources of $375 million dollars.

Michael Cornelius with A-T-U local 1433 says the union and bus company have agreed on improving bathroom access. But things like wages and vacation pay remain unsettled.

Wednesday marks day six of the job walkout.

–Barbara Villa

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