CCTA strike averted; services in Burlington available as scheduled

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 5:27 p.m. with information from the Teamster’s Union.

The Chittenden County Transit Authority announced on Sunday morning that bus services will operate as scheduled on Monday in the Burlington area.

Last week the local Teamsters union threatened to strike on March 10 if CCTA and union members couldn’t agree to a three-year contract in negotiations this weekend.

After 19 hours of negotiations that began Saturday afternoon and concluded early Sunday morning, the two sides came to an agreement. The Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service assisted with the talks.

CCTA has given the union a contract proposal that now needs to be ratified by members who will vote on whether to accept the proposal early this week including the possibility of a strike.

Rob Slingerland, a union spokesman, said in a statement that bus drivers don’t want “a disruption in the Chittenden County public transportation system.”

“We wouldn’t even be at this point if CCTA management had spent more time over the last several months at the table, working with us to address the core issues of unfair treatment and basic dignity in our workplace,” Slingerland said. “Sadly, CCTA management is more concerned with scoring public relations points by pitting drivers against the public than reaching an agreement that respects their workers as professionals.”

Bus drivers say they have been treated unfairly by CCTA management. They object to video cameras on buses and at the central worksite and changes to break times between shifts.

“We have been working for nine months without a contract,” Slingerland said. “The message to the CCTA management is simple: only you can prevent a disruption in bus service. Our members will democratically decide whether or not a strike will happen. Management needs to sit down with us and get the job done.”

The last contract between CCTA and bus drivers expired on June, 30, 2013.

CCTA bus drivers are the second highest paid in New England after Portland, Maine.

Anne Galloway

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