Officials with the light rail that serves the Phoenix metropolitan area say the potential for a work stoppage by New Year’s Eve has been averted.
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 and light rail operations contractor Alternate Concepts agreed Friday to continue labor negotiations under existing work conditions.
ATU and ACI have agreed to submit their issues to binding arbitration beginning early next year.
The collective bargaining agreement between the ATU and ACI expired on June 30, leading to two 90-day extensions. The second extension is set to end on Dec. 31.
Valley Metro officials say the light rail serves nearly 50,000 riders daily.
The first 20-miles of light rail opened in December 2008. Six light rail extensions are under way that will create a 57-mile system by 2032.
CenturyLink workers in 13 western states have voted to authorize a strike if union leaders can’t reach a new contract with the communications company. The workers at issue are in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, North Dakota, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
The Communications Workers of America announced Monday that more than 88 percent of those voting backed the action.
The union and Monroe, La.-based CenturyLink are trying to reach a new contract for 13,000 employees, who formerly worked for Qwest Communications, before the current contract expires Saturday night. The employees include customer service agents, network technicians and Internet support workers.
The union approved a strike in 2008 but a work stoppage wasn’t ordered.
CWA spokesman Al Kogler said the union opposes a proposed increase in health care premiums and wants to bring more jobs back to the United States.
CenturyLink workers in Montana are negotiating a separate contract.