New offer hinged on job security assurances, but freezes wages and maintains city-funded health insurance.

SunTran-Ronstadt

Sun Tran's Ronstadt Station

Teamsters Union Local 104 members ratified their new labor contract Sunday afternoon. The new offer was similar to the one they walked away from last weekend, but it contained one major change: Language that lets the union strike after only five days of negotiations, if Sun Tran institutes any layoffs in the next two years. That provided enough of an assurance of job security that most union members voted for the new contract. And while it left no room for wage increases, it guarantees that union employees' health benefits will remain intact.

The City of Tucson pays for those health benefits, through the General Fund. The city will also have to cover any future increases in premiums. Why does cash-strapped Tucson have to pay for the health insurance of bus drivers? We asked Sun Tran's director of marketing, Michele Joseph, to explain the obligation and run the numbers.

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