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BRTA Strike Delayed

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A scheduled strike at the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority has been delayed.
 
BRTA Administrator Robert Malnati issued a notice on Monday saying the paratransit operators have delayed a striked scheduled to begin on Monday, Feb. 19. A federal mediator will be meeting with BRTA on Feb. 21 to further discuss the situation and has asked the union workers to delay their strike.
 
Drivers for Paratransit Management of the Berkshires voted down the best and final offer during contract negotiations and voted on Feb. 6 to strike. The 18 workers are represented by International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 404.
 
The BRTA, which oversees Paratransit, was informed of the vote last week.
 
The strike would impact all aspects of the BRTA. The fixed route operators, mechanics, and maintenance staff would not be able to cross picket lines, according to Malnati.
 
The Intermodal Center would remain open during a strike and Peter Pan, Greyhound, and Amtrak will still stop in Pittsfield. 
 
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,   bus,   contract negotiations,   strike,   

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The Berkshire Museum Will Reopen Saturday, Aug. 1

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After being closed for more than four months, the Berkshire Museum will once again welcome visitors through its doors in downtown Pittsfield. 

The museum, which will open in phases, plans to open exclusively to its members for two weeks during its first phase beginning Saturday, Aug. 1, before inviting the whole community in phase 2 starting Monday, Aug. 17. The reopening of the Berkshire Museum comes as part of Phase 3 of the state's four-phase Reopening Massachusetts plan, which began Monday, July 6, as announced on July 2.

The museum intends to meet or exceed all state-mandated health and safety guidelines through each reopening phase. Beginning Aug. 1, guests will be welcomed back to the museum with a series of new health and safety protocols in place, including new and improved cleaning procedures, time-based advance ticketing that reserves each exhibition for one "family unit" - a group that has been quarantining together - at a time, mandatory face coverings, social distancing between visitors and staff, and more.

"Throughout the pandemic, the Berkshire Museum has prioritized the health and safety of our guests and staff," said Jeff Rodgers, executive director. "This remains our primary concern, especially as we watch states across the nation suffer rising rates of infection. To ensure that we are acting responsibly, we're taking a phased approach to reopening that will allow us to adjust to changing conditions."

From Aug. 115, the Aquarium will open for Berkshire Museum members with timed reservations. Members can enjoy private, 45-minute, self-led explorations of the Aquarium on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The museum will close from 1 to 2 p.m. daily for cleaning.

The same operating hours will continue during phase 2 from Aug. 17-31, with timed reservations available to the public. In this phase visits will expand to include both the Aquarium and a last chance to see the Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons for all visitors.

Timed tickets must be reserved in advance at berkshiremuseum.org or by calling 413-443-7171, ext. 360. Berkshire Museum members, children under 18, and EBT cardholders always visit free. During phase 2, adult regular admission will be $5. Reservations can be made starting July 23 for dates between Aug. 1 and 31.

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