For more than a year, the City of Tucson and the RTA have been working on a plan to transfer SunTran to the RTA. In recent days, that issue has moved to the forefront and become fairly contentious. When the Teamsters Union went on strike, all but closing down SunTran, the issues on the table were pay, benefits, and job security. The Teamsters say they would prefer that the bus system be under the RTA because the union does not believe that the City has the money necessary to fulfill the contract.
As the negotiations between the Teamsters and SunTran played out the Mayor and Council were presented with a Memorandum of Understanding by the RTA outlining the takeover of the bus system. But Council member Regina Romero and others balked at the MOU, because it was negotiated and delivered by Gary Hayes, the Executive Director of the RTA, and Romero thinks the negotiations over SunTran’s future should be handled by elected officials not appointed staff. In the end, the Mayor and Council did not approve the MOU, however, they didn’t disapprove either they simply voted to continue negotiating. That left hard feelings on the part of Gary Hayes. The RTA Board, now is scheduled for a hastily called meeting this afternoon