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CCTA, bus drivers reach a deal - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

CCTA, bus drivers reach a deal

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

After a two-hour meeting behind closed doors Thursday, CCTA drivers finally voted yes. Drivers say it's been a long, hard road, but they have finally reached an agreement with CCTA management. The vote was 53-6.

"It was long and painful and cold. These guys did a tremendous job standing up for their rights and I'm very proud of all of them," said Tony St. Hilaire, the union business agent.

The drivers say they got what they wanted-- a 12.5-hour split-shift instead of 13.5. In exchange, CCTA gets to increase the number of part-time drivers from 13 to 15, and those part-time drivers can work up to 24 hours a week.

"We worked very hard. We had to meet compromise. There's some stuff we have heartburn on still, but we got our 12-and-a-half and the buses are gonna be safe and the drivers are gonna be able to service their customers to the best of their ability," St. Hilaire said.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, who met with both parties Wednesday to tell them enough is enough, had hoped his intervention would lead to this.

"Fantastic! I'm so proud of the team coming together and settling this strike. Listen, you know, you know Vermonters had lost their patience, we got over 10,000 Vermonters who are really suffering and it's great news," said Shumlin, D-Vermont. "That the parties came together, settled their differences and we will have the wheels rolling tomorrow."

Drivers say they are just ready to get back to work.

"I'm happy these guys are happy and I just want to get back to work tomorrow. I know our customers are waiting for us. And I just want to get out there and drive my bus," said Nathan Bergeron, a CCTA driver steward.

The CCTA Board of Commissioners met Thursday afternoon and voted to ratify the new contract. Service will resume Friday morning and it will be fare-free until April 13.

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