CCTA Bus Drivers Now on Strike

By Lesley Engle

Published 03/17 2014 08:55AM

Updated 03/17 2014 09:02AM

Bus drivers in northern Vermont walked off the job Monday, forcing many passengers to find another ride.

Bus drivers for the Chittenden County Transportation Authority have been on strike since Monday morning. Drivers and supporters have been picketing since 6 a.m. at the CCTA garage. They’re also picketing near the bus stop on Church and Cherry streets.

Bus drivers say the strike is over hours. Union officials say the company wants drivers to go from a 12 ½ hour shift to a 13 ½ hour shift.

In an interview with FOX44 Monday morning, Tony St. Hilaire, business agent for the teamsters union, said contract negotiations have been long—some lasting about 15 hours. He said the company really needs to address the 13 ½ hour shift because they’re trying to hold the drivers for an extra hour and they’re not happy about that.

CCTA officials say the union can restore negotiations by submitting a formal counter proposal to CCTA’s last contract offer.

“CCTA has made every effort to reach an agreement and avoid a strike, including twice extending an offer of binding arbitration,” said General Manager Bill Watterson. “CCTA’s last proposal to the Union was exceedingly fair, reasonable and respectful, including generous pay increases and flexibility in work rules in response to issues raised by the Union in negotiations. Unfortunately, the Union was not satisfied and now it is in their court to put a compromising counter proposal on the table in order to restore face-to-face negotiations and the transportation services our communities rely on.”

According to CCTA officials, the drivers are the second highest paid transit drivers in northern New England. The current base wage for a CCTA driver is $42,494 per year and the offer was to increase this amount to more than $45,000.

No word on when the strike will end.

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