CCTA, Drivers Swap Barbs; No End in Sight for Strike
By Mark Davis
on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 1:46 PM
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Rabbi Joshua Chasan speaks in support of CCTA bus drivers during an afternoon press conference on Church Street.
With a bus strike entering its second week, relations between Chittenden County Transportation Authority management and drivers appear to be getting worse, not better.
The sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract over the weekend and started issuing statements that show they don't even agree on what went wrong on Saturday.
CCTA said that it offered a new compromise on Saturday but that union representatives "walked out of negotiations without notice while the CCTA team was still actively engaged with the federal mediators at 8:20 p.m." The bus agency's statement continued, "CCTA’s proposal included compromises in areas identified by the union as priorities. However, union demands continue to be out of line with CCTA’s obligation to operate a safe, affordable and reliable public transportation system."
At a press conference Monday at Church and Cherry Streets, where drivers and supporters have been picketing for a week, drivers accused their bosses of "stonewalling." The drivers left the bargaining table only after CCTA made it clear it would not meet the union's demands, said drivers' spokesman Rob Slingerland.
"CCTA had already told them they couldn't meet their demands," Rob Slingerland said. "We didn't walk out."