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CCTA Board Votes To Seek Temporary Drivers

The Chittenden County Transportation Authority’s board of commissioners voted 12 - 1 Monday evening to authorize company management to seek temporary drivers so that service can be restored amid the strike by the drivers’ union.

The resolution, as passed, strongly encourages both CCTA management and drivers to resolve the strike as soon as possible, either through mediated negotiation or binding arbitration. But the board also directed CCTA staff to explore legal options that would end the strike. The resolution allowed management staff to line up temporary drivers and get ready to resume service, but does not allow temporary drivers to start driving routes until the board approves the move at its next meeting, set tentatively for Thursday at 4 p.m.

“I just think the credibility of our service is on the line,” said Commissioner Brian Palaia of Milton, who introduced the amendment.

If management and the union can’t come to an agreement before the board’s next meeting, the resolution says the company should be ready to bring on the temporary drivers with final approval from the board.

The resolution also presented some substantive changes to the board’s oversight of CCTA management’s role in negotiations.

It includes the formation of an operations committee, made up of board members, to “look at operations and human resource issues,” giving the board a greater role in labor disputes.

When CCTA meets with drivers, the board wants to be represented at the bargaining table, and the resolution requires that a board member be present accompanying management to negotiation meetings.

The striking drivers were preparing an offer Monday afternoon for management, according to driver spokesman Rob Slingerland.