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This article misses some of the very central issues. BCA’s being receptive to feedback is one thing. Acting on feedback is another. The South End discussion right now is very important but there are a lot of artists and artisans who agree with Mr. Lockridge who are dissatisfied with how feedback is being coordinated by BCA as well as its lack of constructive cooperation, lack of transparency in decision making, and lack of broad inclusion. The value of the arts in the bigger picture is a more valuable subject than what a few projects coordinated by BCA reflect. The South End is one example. What is needed now is a broader conversation about arts in the whole region and it appears that this initiative is beginning to form within the artist community itself. It is not limited to Mr. Lockridge and Ms. Kraft as the article implies. It is a bigger picture and it will need everyone’s support.
You, Watterson, want the drivers to come crawling to you with a peace offer? A serious proposal? The drivers are calling out in pain and you want an olive branch?
Great article. Note that CCTA’s response is the usual exercise in platitudes. So what if the CCTA drivers are well paid according to the “fact-finder”? Safety does not have a price and what the drivers voted down had to do with working conditions that threaten safety. CCTA’s stand on safety boils down to a small compensation, not the system itself which the drivers have tried to make clear.
The important point is that the so-called “best offer” which CCTA makes a big case for in its response was voted down by the union by a large margin. “By a large margin” means that there is something apparently really wrong with what CCTA is offering. If you read between the lines of this article, there are two things that stand out. One, the managerial abuse at CCTA is characteristic of a predatory management style which at CCTA boils down to scheduling that creates long, split-up, odd days, and forced overtime with little concern for the drivers’ quality of life. On top of this, CCTA has worked hard to increase its ability to summarily punish drivers, sometimes for the least infractions -- and reserves the right to skip levels of discipline if management sees fit. Fear dominates and blame is transferred downward. Secondly, the drivers are asking to be treated with respect. True managerial leadership allows workers to excel and be their best. Great companies are led by more collaborative approaches to management, which means more than tossing out a few crumbs.
Burlington deserves better, so I have three suggestions for CCTA:
1. Meet face to face and listen to where the pain is; stop hiding behind (and paying out of tax dollars for) lawyers, mediators, and fact-finders; respect drivers’ concerns.
2. Allow the drivers to get the protective wording in their contract they deserve -- without loop-holes and interpretive loose ends; show them enough respect to stick to it.
3. Change CCTA’s management style. As a start, this could include firing its predatory operations director and subordinates.