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I found the following recent posts on the Santa Cruz Sentinel blog of interest at: forums.santacruzsentinel.com/cgi-bin/forums/ultimatebb.cgi



Originally posted by Lazarus L. on 10-24:

THE SIMPLE FACT IS, THIS STRIKE COULD BE OVER IMMEDIATELY IF THE DISTRICT WOULD AGREE TO A THREE YEAR CONTRACT THAT INCLUDES:

• Parity with other transit employees on medical coverage.

• District payment of its' legally required share of retirement contributions.

• A "capped" cost of living increase in the second and third year.

• A return of our grievance process and other worker protections.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


posted October 24:

October 18, 2005

Official Statement of the United Transportation Union Local 23

The United Transportation Union Local 23 is very aware of the terrible, negative impact that the strike is having on the riders and the community as a whole. We very much want to end the strike as soon as possible.

There appears to be a lack of interest by some Board Members to find a way to settle this strike. The Board has the ability to allocate the funds needed to agree to a three year contract. The will of the Board must be to make the necessary decision to allocate the funds required to end this emergency, that is, to end the interruption of transit service to the Public.

In order to secure the Transit system for the public riders and the community, the will of the Board must be committed to do so.

The Union negotiating team has submitted a serious three year contract proposal. We hope that the District and the Board will appreciate the serious and responsive nature of our proposal and act now to resolve this labor dispute. It is time to allow the transit system to be returned to the Community - it is your responsibility to do that.

The Union strongly encourages the Board to accept the PERS retirement proposal that will be brought to you today as it represents a fair compromise to one of our major disputes. However we want the Board to understand that we cannot continue to give up existing benefits in order to pay for increased medical costs and to achieve a fair distribution of retirement contributions. We've already given up Drop-a-day, the Safe Driver bonus, the Baby Bonus, and General Leave. We also have longer working days with no increase in compensation. Giving up more would be going backwards. That is not acceptable. The Board has the fiscal flexibility to settle this contract. We urge you to exercise this flexibility.

We hope that this strike can be ended as soon as possible.


posted October 24:

MEMO

From: David Lucier
Date: October 21, 2005

To: SCMTD Board of Directors

Subject: Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District must desist paying management salaries, during cessation of bus service.

1. CONTRACT: In 1978 the Transit District agreed to enter into a contractual relationship with the citizens of Santa Cruz County to provide bus service in exchange for the imposition of a one half percent transaction tax. The contract was named "Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District Tax Measure G."

2. LEGALITY: The agreement to provide bus service was a legal document with signatories. The reason and only official reason put forth to the public by the District was signed by: Assemblyman, Henry Mello; Transit District Board Chairman, Rober Garcia; Board of Directors Member, Jean McNeil, and others. The reason, accompanying the ballots and justifying the tax, was called "Argument in Favor of Measure G." The public signatories were signed ballots of 50,310 voters in Santa Cruz County who approved Measure G. All signatories were of voting age. The document has been considered legal and has been enforced since June 10, 1978. See attachment.

3. WILLING: no entity was forced into the contract.

4. CONSIDERATION: The public agreed to pay one half percent transaction tax, which today amounts to about $ 1.5 million dollars per month. The District agreed to provide improved bus service.

5. BAD FAITH: The Transit District continues to pay managers, after the District provoked a strike by: 1) rescinding a negotiated contract, and 2) going on vacation. When the district pays one set of employees, while withholding pay of another set, the District gives bargaining power to one group of employees and withholds bargaining power from the other set. To reward one set of employees and punish another set is an unfair and unequal treatment and should not be done with money to be used for transit service.

6. GENEROSITY WITH TAXPAYERS' MONEY: The Board of Directors treats the money received from the county transaction tax as a permanent given income to distribute liberally to a preferred set of employees and to withhold from the very employees, the bus drivers, who are necessary to fulfill Measure G's contract obligations. Because of the good relations with drivers and an amicable social environment on buses, voters approved Measure G in 1978, granting millions of dollars to the Transit District. Since then, the Transit Board and the Management forgot the significant participation of Drivers in creating a positive relationship with riders and the public, favorable to the enactment of Measure G. Instead, the Transit District management, with the assistance of the Board has created a nightmare of one way surveillance and control over every behavior, thoughts, and dress of drivers, leaving themselves free from scrutiny and judgement. As drivers go hungry and passengers suffer, management carelessly, negligently, and imperiously, treats drivers with disdain, forcing them, with no alternative, to strike. Meanwhile, management continues to receive bountiful benefits and lavish salaries.

7. FRAUD: To enter into a contract and then to continue to pay hefty salaries to a group of insensitive people, who have made it their objective to degrade other employees, is a fraud committed against the people of Santa Cruz County. Not providing bus service represents a hiatus in the Contract. Paying out salaries, to those who benefit from a lack of service and who use their privileged differential reward as leverage to continue in their bad faith negotiations, is a fraud and theft of taxpayer money, which ruptures the contractual assumptions and obligations of Measure G (1978).

posted by G. Barker on 10-24:

As are the rest of us!
Anyone notice how the spin doctors say how much is subsidized.
Read the figures.
Better than 85% of Metro's income is State and local taxes AND the ridership.
Yee Haw! We are all taxpayers, even the ridership.
Unless you live outside the county you and at least a few of your acquaintances ARE AFFECTED BY THE METRO BOARD'S DECISION TO CAUSE A STRIKE.
The majority of the ridership and the bus drivers are against the strike.
The Metro board of directors voted for a strike IN SECRET against THEIR OWN GENERAL MANAGER'S sign-off on the STATE MEDIATED AGREEMENT, AGAINST the wishes of the drivers and the passengers, and a few board members.
THEY STILL VIOLATE THE SUNSHINE PROPOSITION and attempt to hide behind the BROWN ACT.
Mayor Rotkin did not say how he voted. Supervisor Stone did.
I challenge those hiding to come out and say which way they are voting and why.
Any decent human being would.
Those who won't obviously don't give a damn about their constituents problems, just their narrow point of view, which can best be interpreted as "Screw the passengers and the bus drivers as well."
Mayor Rotkin, I challenge you to come clean. You said on TV that calling in the Governor would only result in the strike resuming in 60 days after the Governor's review.
I don't believe you, and I am not alone, even if you don't apparently care how much this strike has impacted the ridership.
The Governor would at least get us riders through the holidays while forcing those stubborn board members to actually mediate.
Don't leave all of us hitching through the rain for a few selfish board member's will.
Mike, make them come clean.
IT IS THEIR RESONSIBILITY TO 23.000 of us!
Even if you call in the Governor tomorrow, it will be two weeks until the Governor's people finish their review, make recommendations, and call the drivers back to work for 60 days.
Be strong and do it

My Free Radio Santa Cruz show (archived at www.santacruzcopwatch.org/robert/) has numerous interviews with supporters and critics of the strike as well as my commentary. Not yet indexed, the shows need to be "sklpped through" to find the relevant sections.

More will be forthcoming Thursdays evenings 6-8 PM and Sundays 9:30 AM - 1 PM at 101.1 FM and www.freakradio.org.
 


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