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Progress reported in Phoenix bus driver strike

A few dozen bus drivers and family members, including Fernando Rodriguez, left, who has a father that is a bus driver, and George Vargas, who is a bus driver, walk in front of a Phoenix bus depot, as they join more than 600 Phoenix area transit bus drivers who were on strike March 10 in Phoenix.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The president of the union representing striking Phoenix bus drivers says major progress has been made in negotiations with their employer.

Union president Bob Bean told The Associated Press that he is hoping a final deal can be reached Wednesday to end the strike that began Saturday.

If a deal is reached, about 640 drivers for Veolia Transportation Services could vote on the contract Thursday.

Bean says the two sides have yet to discuss the contract with 310 striking Tempe drivers.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 drivers operate 50 of the 101 Valley Metro routes that serve about 200,000 bus riders each weekday.

Phoenix drivers were upset about wage and benefit terms such as sick-leave accrual, retirement benefits and health care coverage. Tempe drivers struck over health care costs.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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