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Employee contract disputes can wreak havoc on businesses

Most Arizona companies want to be fair with their employees, but the bottom line is that the goal of most businesses is to make a profit. Personnel is often the most costly expense they have. For this reason, when employee contract disputes arise, they can wreak havoc on companies. Without sufficient progress in negotiations, day-to-day operations could be jeopardized.

For example, over 500 bus drivers, station workers and mechanics went on strike on Aug. 5 in Tucson. Bus service has suffered ever since. Union representatives have been negotiating with Professional Transit Management (PTM) for a new contract.

PTM contracts with the city to provide transportation services to the residents. Ordinarily, there are 43 weekday bus routes operating. Nearly 66,000 passenger trips occur during the work week. Since PTM's workers went on strike, the city is down to a skeleton crew, and only 13 routes are currently scheduled during the week. Only five routes are running on Saturdays, and all service is cancelled on Sundays.

It became necessary to bring in a federal mediator in order to help move negotiations along. The city council is anxious for the parties to come to an agreement in order to resume normal operations. Both sides are being tight lipped regarding progress toward a resolution of the dispute.

Coming to a compromise that satisfies both employees and employer is often challenging. There are typically many business decisions to be made in order to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement. Working through employee contract disputes can be time consuming, but once an agreement is ironed out, both sides are ordinarily anxious to get back to normal. Ensuring that those terms are properly documented and comply with applicable laws and regulations in Arizona will most likely require additional advice and assistance.

Source: azpm.org, "Talks Continue to End Bus Strike; No Progress Reported", Sept. 11, 2015

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