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CCTA drivers strike enters week 2 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

CCTA drivers strike enters week 2

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

It's week two of the CCTA bus strike and riders are still struggling to get around. With no apparent end in sight, some families who rely on public transportation say they fear the worst.

Sarah Forguites says she and her 4-year-old son, Logan, rely on public transportation for everything.

"We really haven't been doing anything; we've been staying home. I feel like I'm being held hostage," Forguites said.

The bus stop in front of her home remains empty as the CCTA strike continues. Forguites says having no car, or friends with cars, has left them stranded for more than a week.

"I'm on a fixed income; I can't pay for a cab, I can't offer anyone gas money. I can't walk right now because the sidewalks are not viable for me and a four-year-old," said Forguites.

At a panel discussion Tuesday at UVM, drivers spoke out against CCTA management, looking for community support.

"I have never, never worked for a company that was so adamant about going after its employees. CCTA is not an employee-friendly company when it comes to its drivers," said CCTA driver Rob Slingerland.

CCTA drivers and management are at odds over four main issues: wages, disciplinary action from anonymous tips, part-time drivers and split shifts.

"It's disappointing, but it's primarily disappointing because we need to reach agreement so that we can get this strike over with and start serving the public that we are all here to serve," said CCTA general manager Bill Watterson.

Until the two sides can agree on a contract, 10,000 riders who rely on the bus must find their own way around. Forguites says she hasn't been able to get to work and fears that if the strike continues she will not be able to make ends meet.

"I have enough to squeak by and to pay rent. And I'm really worried about not having enough to pay rent. If it lasts for a while, I might lose my apartment," said Forguites.

A special City Council meeting is being held Wednesday at 5 p.m. in City Hall where the CCTA management will give and update on the strike and the public will have a chance to weigh in.

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