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.
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Pittsfield Police Chief Says Too Soon Assess Budget Cut Impact
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It's only one month into the fiscal year so it's still not clear how cuts made to the city's police budget will play out.
Police Chief Michael Wynn told the Police Advisory and Review Board that it is still too soon to tell how the reduced budget will affect operations.
"It is up in the air we really just got a budget past," Wynn said. "Operationally we really are just getting our feet under us."
U.S. Sen. Edward Markey made three stops in the Berkshires on Friday to speak on education, technology climate change, health care, racial justice and other issuing affecting the nation. click for more