November 12, 2010: Teamster bus drivers in Burlington, Vt. are uniting with the riding public to win a contract that improves the CCTA for drivers and passengers.
Local 597 bus drivers at the Chittenden County Transit Authority (CCTA) are organizing for a fair contract. On Sunday, they voted 36 to 1 to reject a contract offer that left key problems unresolved.
“Our No Vote was nearly unanimous,” said driver Jim Fouts “That sends a clear message to the CCTA that we’re ready to negotiate a reasonable agreement—but we’re not ready to roll over.”
Fouts is a member the rank-and-file contract committee, the Sunday Breakfast Club, that is mobilizing the membership—and reaching out to the riding public—to win a contract that improves conditions for both drivers and passengers.
Drivers and public supporters are urging the CCTA to negotiate a fair contract that includes:
- Safe and reliable schedules. The current schedules at CCTA make drivers work split shifts, leaving them exhausted. Scheduling improvements will mean better safety for both drivers and more reliable and on-time service for passengers.
- Respect for Employees & A Fair Disciplinary Procedure. Local 597 bus drivers have a stressful job made worse by a kangaroo court disciplinary procedure. Drivers want a fair procedure and treatment with respect and dignity.
- Full-Time Drivers for Quality Service. Full-time drivers means good jobs for Vermont and good service for our passengers. A Part-Time CCTA Won't Work!
Drivers and mechanics aren’t just putting forward contract proposals. They’re organizing to build the support they need to win them. They’re circulating a petition and tabling with community supporters to reach out to passengers and tell their side of the story.
Members and passengers are mobilizing to attend the next meeting of the CCTA Board of Directors.
In the past, deadlocked contracts have gone to fact finding—a process that Local 597 members says is waste of tax-payer money.
“Our primarily concerns are non-monetary. We want to improve contract language so working conditions are better for the drivers and the CCTA is providing safer and more reliable service for the public,” said Chuck Norris-Brown, another member of the Sunday breakfast club.
“That’s something all Vermonters would be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Our message to the CCTA is let’s sit down, hammer out an agreement and make it happen so we have something to celebrate this holiday season,” Norris-Brown said.