The CCTA Board of Commissioners today unanimously voted to ask the Union to reconsider its offer for binding arbitration to avoid a strike.
Binding arbitration is a dispute resolution process that allows the parties to present their positions to an independent arbiter who then makes a decision on how best to resolve those differences. CCTA recommended, and Burlington Mayor Weinberger endorsed, the use of binding arbitration on March 13, but the union has not indicated an interest in this option.
CCTA Board Chair, Tom Buckley, summarized the board position, “The CCTA Board supports binding arbitration as a method to bring both parties back to the table and to prevent the disruption of the public transportation services so many Vermonters rely on every day. The union’s refusal of binding arbitration prevents the parties from engaging in a fair and neutral process that would prevent a strike and reach a resolution.”
The CCTA Board also called on the union to clearly and officially communicate its intentions to the public and to identify their official spokesperson so CCTA and the public can count on the accuracy of public statements made by those who indicate they speak for the union.
While media reports have indicated union members are stating a strike will commence March 17, CCTA has not received any official confirmation of the union’s strike plans. It is critical the union provide specific information regarding its strike plans so that passengers are able to make alternative plans as soon as possible.
CCTA’s offer of binding arbitration underscores its strong interest in preserving service for the community. CCTA urges the Union to consider more responsible methods to resolve differences.
According to labor law, because CCTA offered the last proposal in the negotiations, the Union must issue a formal counter proposal to that offer to restore negotiations.
Whether passengers can continue to rely on vital public transportation services is in the hands of the union.