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BRTA On Verge of Work Stoppage

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority is on the verge of a work stoppage.
 
Drivers for Paratransit Management of the Berkshires have reportedly voted down the best and final offer during contract negotiations as well as called for a strike. The workers are represented by International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 404.
 
The BRTA, which oversees Paratransit, was informed of the vote but has yet to receive written notification regarding the details of the strike, according to BRTA Administrator Robert Malnati.
 
"At this time, BRTA has not received the written notification from the union regarding the strike. There remain many questions that would only be speculation if answers were provided now," Malnati said on Wednesday.
 
The 18 members in the union employed by Paratransit voted the strike on Tuesday night and apparently scheduled the work stoppage in 10 days. The union has not commented on the matter.
 
The strike will impact all aspects of the BRTA. The union had been working with a mediator to settle a contract and the "best and final offer" was delivered to the union on Jan. 26. The membership's vote had twice been postponed before Tuesday. 
 
"The fixed route (BTM) operators, mechanics, and maintenance staff are still working, but cannot cross picket lines," Malnati said.
 
The Intermodal Center will remain open and Peter Pan, Greyhound, and Amtrak will still stop in Pittsfield. The BRTA issued a notice of the impending stoppage on Tuesday.
 
"This action may also cause the BRTA bus service to cease operations and halt maintenance performed on BRTA vehicles," the notice reads.
 
The BRTA has an annual ridership of more than 600,000, with close to 80,000 of those through the paratransit service that supplements the fixed bus service for those with impaired mobility. 

Tags: BRTA,   strike,   

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Pou's No-Hitter Lifts Force 12U to Dalton CRA Title

By Rick DuteauiBerkshires.com Sports
DALTON, Mass - Sunday’s performance was exactly the sort of thing that Berkshire Force 12U coach Jess Glebus hoped for, at exactly the right time. Just days ahead of a big trip to Florida to compete in the Babe Ruth World Series, the Force earned the Dalton CRA Softball Tournament title with a 10-0 win over the Saratoga Thunder, at Pine Grove Park.
 
Amanda Pou threw a no-hitter and every batter in the lineup reached base to contribute in the victory. Only one Thunder player reached base, and she was quickly thrown out by catcher Issabelle Macdonald and she attempted to steal second.
 
“We played Chatham yesterday and we didn’t play well, but we came out today and we were a totally different team and we were ready to play,” Coach Glebus said. “Our bats were alive, our defense was alive and our pitching was outstanding. I’m not complaining, but for some reason, on Sundays we come out alive. We really did play well today, and that’s when it counts.”
 
The Force won their Babe Ruth New England Regional earlier this summer to qualify for the World Series. The team heads down to Jensen Beach, Florida, on Thursday, and this tournament served as a nice dress rehearsal for the action ahead.
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