BRTA says drivers OK strike

Posted
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect attempts to reach the union.

PITTSFIELD — Drivers at the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority could soon go on strike.


Robert Malnati, BRTA administrator, said Wednesday that union membership of Paratransit Management of the Berkshires — a subsidiary of First Transit operating BRTA's on-call bus service since July 2016 — voted Tuesday to reject the company's "best and final offer." He said membership also authorized a work stoppage to happen in 10 days.

While the contract in dispute is for only the drivers of the 15 small on-call buses, the paratransit drivers and the drivers of the traditional fixed-route buses are all represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 404, so the strike could impact all bus service, Malnati said last week. Efforts to reach representatives of Teamsters Local 404 and First Transit were unsuccessful Wednesday. Attempts by The Eagle to contact the union in the last week and a half, since BRTA first announced the possibility of a strike vote, have not borne fruit.

Malnati said he himself is awaiting more details about negotiations between his contractor and his drivers and so cannot answer questions about affected routes.

"More information will be coming but I don't know when," he said Wednesday morning. "Hopefully within the next day or so."

Malnati said that, from July through December, BRTA's ridership averaged at about 2,300 a month.

The last strike that affected BRTA service was in 2004, Malnati said. There are more than a dozen fixed weekday bus routes offered through BRTA that make up to 14 trips a day, according to schedules on the BRTA website.



Reach Amanda Drane at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter or at 413-496-6296.




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