Wednesday, April 13, 2011

CCTA Chairman Spencer: CCTA agreement: A good deal for drivers, public

By Chapin Spencer, CCTA Chair:
The public is rightly wondering about the status of the collective bargaining agreement between CCTA and our drivers. As chairman of the CCTA board, I want to make our position clear.
CCTA and union have been negotiating since March 2010 and have participated in a mediation and fact finding. Upon the release of the fact finding report this March, the union proposed an agreement to CCTA, which CCTA accepted. This agreement has been brought to the drivers and the voting results are expected today.
CCTA feels the current proposal offers a fair and reasonable contract that raises pay each year, continues excellent benefits, and greatly improves driver work schedules. However, there is a parallel struggle going on that CCTA believes is influencing the drivers' consideration of the proposal. CCTA drivers are represented by the Teamsters Local No. 597. Some CCTA drivers are also affiliated with the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), an offshoot of the Teamsters who have an agenda with respect to the national Teamsters leadership. CCTA believes an internal union struggle is fostering an environment where it may be difficult to reach any agreement.
The one substantive issue most often cited by the union's negotiating team is long spread times; the time from the beginning of a split shift to the end of the split shift, not actual work time. CCTA ridership has increased 63 percent over the last 10 years because of an increased focus on commuters. This focus creates two large peaks in service each day, during the morning and evening rush hours. This peak hour service requires drivers to work the morning shift and then return for the afternoon shift to resume work. CCTA agrees with the union that spread time should be limited and the proposal includes a way to do that: Hire part-time union drivers who would:
Help reduce the peak hour demands on full-time drivers,
Dramatically limit full-time driver exposure to long days, and
Guarantee every full-time driver has two consecutive days off.
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