15:28 GMT +323 February 2019
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    A Phoenix light rail train departing Central/McDowell

    Transit Workers in Super Bowl City Phoenix Threaten Strike During Big Game

    © Flickr / Matt Johnson
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    Tens of thousands of fans are expected to descend into the Phoenix suburb of Glendale for THE game: the Super Bowl on February 1st, but if bus drivers don’t get what they want, it’ll be a lot harder to get to the University of Phoenix Stadium.

    The union representing bus drivers and airport transit workers is threatening to strike during the Super Bowl if a contract isn’t agreed to before then. Both sides have been negotiating since the contract expired in June, but on the last week of December some 96 percent of union workers rejected a new contract proposal that workers said included higher costs for healthcare, a longer workday of 13 hours, and mandatory training during worker off hours. The union also represents drivers servicing the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, including the shuttles from the airport to hotels and elsewhere in the city. 

    Transit workers went on a brief strike last year in April, but there was no visible impact, but that could be different with the expected surge of riders in town for football’s top game. A strike would not only affect the airport shuttles, but several of the busiest bus routes, including five in Glendale alone. 

    Mediation talks resume on January 26, just a few days before the game, but city and stadium officials say they are ready and making contingency plans just in case, including more light rail service, which would not be affected by a strike. Even if workers do go on strike, they first have to give three-day notice before any work stoppage. Additionally, under the current contract, the transit service is required to keep 60 percent of its service during any stoppage, and it’s likely those would include the airport shuttles and routes to and from the Super Bowl. 

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