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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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Pittsfield Seeks Solutions to Daytime Warming Shelters for Homeless

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer this week said the city of Pittsfield is feeling discouraged from the lack of community organizations willing to host a warming shelter that will house homeless individuals during the hours that the St. Joseph's temporary winter shelter on Maplewood Avenue is closed.

"We're concerned too, and we're feeling quite discouraged that a number of our community partners have declined our request to help with a daytime warming center but we're not going to give up," she said at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Maffuccio addressed the mayor with two petitions in regard to the homeless population.

Maffuccio requested that the mayor, or other departments or organizations, provide an update on the plans for a warming station for the homeless and that the mayor develops a task force for the purpose of developing a permanent housing solution for chronically homeless residents.

These petitions were both referred to Tyer by the council.

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