Vote today could end strike by CCTA drivers - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vote today could end strike by CCTA drivers

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We are nearing the close of the third week of the strike by CCTA bus drivers, but an end may be in sight.

This morning, the drivers went behind closed doors to vote on a tentative agreement reached by management and the union that represents the drivers. That agreement took 10 hours of negotiations, starting Wednesday evening and going until 3 a.m. Thursday.

Now, the union and CCTA management have a contract ready. And it's all in the hands of the voting drivers to decide whether or not the strike will end today.

"I can't tell you how they're going to vote-- it's a democratic process. They're going to have their choice, they are going to be able to see the proposals and they will make their own decisions," said union negotiator Tony St. Hilaire.

"Both sides made compromises that in the ideal world from their perspective they wouldn't. This is a contract of what's acceptable opposed to what's desirable from our standpoint," said CCTA negotiator Joe McNeil.

Some drivers told WCAX News they are hopeful today's vote will be a yes, as this tentative agreement reached by both sides is different from previous contract offers. Drivers unanimously shot down previous offers, saying their demands on split-shift lengths and the use of part-time drivers were not met.

But the fact that both sides are calling this a tentative agreement rather than an offer definitely shows some very promising progress.

Gov. Peter Shumlin met with both sides Wednesday and said he was very hopeful his intervention and urging would mean the end to the strike, and it seems like his voice was heard.

Drivers say they will hold a press conference after today's meeting wraps up and the CCTA Board of Commissioners is meeting at 4 p.m., where they will have to formally vote to ratify.

If it passes, the CCTA tells WCAX News that bus service could be restored as early as Friday.

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