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BRTA Strike Ends; Regular Bus Service Resumes Wednesday

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — BRTA buses should be back on schedule Wednesday, Dec. 19, bringing an end to the strike that has paralyzed much of the county's public transportation system for the past two weeks. 
 
The latest offer presented to the federal mediator on Tuesday was voted on by the paratransit union membership at a meeting and was approved.  
 
The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority sent out an alert early Tuesday afternoon reporting it had received notification that the union representing the paratransit drivers had accepted the latest offer. Regular paratransit services will resume Thursday, Dec. 20.
 
Fixed route service had been severely curtailed since the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 404 rejected a contract offer from Paratransit Management of the Berkshires on Dec. 3. In addition to the nearly 20 Local 404 paratransit drivers striking, the fixed-route drivers mounted a work stoppage so as not to cross the picket line. 
 
The paratransit drivers have been at odds with BRTA for nearly year and there were indications that a strike might occur earlier this fall. The fixed-route drivers currently have a three-year contract. 
 
The work stoppage has played havoc with people's schedules over the past weeks, making it harder to get to work, school and appointments. Transit officials tried keep some semblance of limited access on routes going up and down the county and chair-companies were hired to provide restricted paratransit service.
 
The latest offer presented to the federal mediator on Tuesday was voted on by the paratransit union membership at a meeting and was approved.  
 
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,   paratransit,   public transportation,   strike,   union contract,   

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Holyoke Mayor Morse Challenges Neal In Congressional Race

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff

Morse is joined by a large crowd of supporters at the Unicorn Inn on Monday night.
HOLYOKE, Mass. — They said he couldn't do it.
 
There is no way a 21-year-old, turning 22, could defeat an incumbent mayor with years of political experience. And there was no way the city of Holyoke was ever going to be as good as it had been.
 
"When I ran for mayor eight years ago, people had a few things to say. They said No. 1, wait your turn. No. 2 maybe run for something else. Or No. 3, don't run at all, you are too young, too gay, too progressive, you are not going get elected here in the city of Holyoke," Alex Morse said at the Unicorn Inn on Monday night to a crowd full of supporters.
 
"And what did we do?"
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