April 4, 2011: Fifty Teamster bus drivers and public supporters held a “Just Practicing” picket in Burlington as part of the April 4 National Day of Action. Will a strike be next?
Armed with signs saying, “Ready to Strike If We Have Too,” working Teamsters and supporters rallied in front of the Chittenden County Transportation Authority.
Today’s picket line was “Just Practicing” drivers say. But real Local 597 picket lines may be going up soon.
Teamster drivers are voting on a “final offer” from the CCTA. The regional bus company wants to cut full-time drivers’ guaranteed hours down to 37½ hours a week and to expand the use of part-time drivers.
Drivers say “Part-Time Vermont Won’t Work.” They say a contract is within reach if CCTA management will stop trying to force through cuts that will hurt public employees, public services and the riding public.
Teamster drivers have enjoyed broad public support and were joined on their “Just Practicing” picket line today by students, members of other unions and CCTA riders.
“We’d all rather be driving a bus than walking a picket line. But we’re ready to strike if that’s the only way we can get the CCTA to reason with us,” said shop steward Mike Walker.
The ballots on management’s final offer will be counted on Sun., April 10. Members say they fully expect the contract to be rejected.
Click here to watch video: Drivers Threaten to Strike.