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CCTA negotiations deadlocked

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Stalled negotiations in the CCTA strike have sparked anger. "If they don't like it, drive the bus yourself," said Mike Walker, chief driver steward.

CCTA management and the bus drivers' union still don't have a deal. The two sides met Saturday to try to reach an agreement, but the strike continues. The union walked out after seven hours of failed negotiations, saying CCTA would not agree to their demands regarding work rules and use of what they call predatory management, including the use of anonymous complaints. "We sat there and said, well why are we wasting our time if they are not going to come to an agreement, so we said we're getting nowhere and we left," Walker said.

CCTA says this is not how negotiations work in order to reach a solution -- both sides need to be willing to compromise. "It will be far more difficult if there is an insistence on the part of the drivers' union that the only way is the way they've proposed these things and anything short of that they will walk out," said CCTA General Manager.Bill Watterson.

Both the union and CCTA agree that a particular sticking point has been the use of anonymous complaints to warrant review of bus surveillance video. The union says that allowing anonymous complaints to be used for disciplinary action is an abuse of power. CCTA says it is necessary to preserve public safety. "Often times we find that complaints are not -- what is called founded -- but those that are founded we need to address appropriately. This is the responsible thing for CCTA to do," Watterson said.

But for the union, the use of anonymous calls is still only part of the problem. At a news conference Monday afternoon the union was asked multiple times what exactly it would take to break the log jam.

Reporter Shelby Cashman: So there's just no solution? That's what you're telling us basically.

Mike Walker: We'll eventually come to some sort of agreement, but in order to stop all of these issues our contract has to be that thick, and they don't want it that thick.

Both the union and the CCTA each indicated that it is up to the other to make a move. The union says CCTA needs to agree to their proposed articles regarding work rules and end what they call predatory management and harassment. CCTA says that is not how negotiations work.

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