From the Burlington Free Press
After a daylong vote on Wednesday, bus drivers with the Chittenden County Transportation Authority unanimously declined a contract proposal — the CCTA management’s last best , the Teamsters Local 597 bus drivers’ union announced Wednesday night.
“The Union and it’s membership are preparing to move forward with their strike action against CCTA,” Teamsters agent Tony St. Hilaire wrote in a news release shortly before 9 p.m.
Even though it was business-as-usual at work for drivers during the day, the drivers voted in between or after their shifts on the final contract proposal that had come out of a 19-hour negotiation session between CCTA management and the union this past weekend.
The CCTA management and the union have been embroiled in contract negotiations since April 2013.
Passengers on the College Street shuttle bus were quiet Wednesday afternoon as the bus driver navigated his way up and down a snowy, slick hill.
As passengers got off the bus at each stop, they thanked the driver or said, “Great job,” before hopping down the steps.?
Matt McGrath of the Vermont Workers’ Center said earlier in the day that he heard from various drivers that the proposal was similar to the one presented and rejected in February. McGrath said the management did not seem to budge much on issues important to the workers — discipline, shift lengths and part-time workers.
“The sentiment, from folks that I’ve talked to, is that this is no different than any of the other that they’ve resoundingly rejected,” McGrath said. “It’s hard to see that they would not reject this as well.”
CCTA General Manager Bill Watterson said earlier Wednesday that he could not comment on specific elements of the proposal until the vote was over “to avoid any perception that CCTA is attempting to impact the driver vote.”
A solidarity meeting will be held at the University of Vermont at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Dudley H. Davis Center to discuss further ideas for showing support to bus drivers.