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Students and Workers Visit Rotkin to Demand an End to the Bus Strike

A crowd of rideless UCSC students and workers along with striking MetroBus drivers and reporters descended upon Mike Rotkins’ office Monday to ask that he give them rides home.

They demanded that he take steps to end the bus strike. Rotkin explained that the situation was 'complicated' and we had to be 'practical.' For the first time, Rotkin stated publicly that he had voted to accept the 6 month state-mediated agreement that would have averted a strike. Making this mission a success.
A crowd of rideless UCSC students and workers along with striking MetroBus drivers and reporters descended upon Mike Rotkins’ office Monday to ask that he give them rides home.

They demanded that he take steps to end the bus strike. Rotkin explained that the situation was 'complicated' and we had to be 'practical.' For the first time, Rotkin stated publicly that he had voted to accept the 6 month state-mediated agreement that would have averted a strike. Making this mission a success.

On Monday September 26th The Board of Directors made the unprecedented decision to reject a state mediated agreement it’s own negotiating team had brokered with UTU Local 23 – the bus driver’s union. It is a sign of negligent mismanagement that the Board would override it’s own negotiating team knowing full well this would percipitate a strike. Moreover, the rejected deal was only a temporary six-month agreement holding the old contract in place, and meant to avert work-stoppage (by lockout or strike) until negotiations continued in April. The Board’s claim that the deal was too costly rings false – six months of the old agreement would not have been too costly for the public, especially if it kept the buses running. We hold the Board of Directors completely responsible for our lack of bus service.

Since the strike began Tuesday, UCSC students and workers have been struggling to find ways to get to campus. Many who live in town have had to hitchhike, carpool or commandeer bicycles. Some have been stranded and forced to take taxis they cannot afford or had to walk alone on unlit streets. Workers have been reprimanded for being late to work. This is exactly the scenario UTU local 23, the state meditator and even the District’s negotiating team was trying to avoid. The Board’s rush to pompously override the state mediator and their own negotiating team, deny us public transportation, and treat Santa Cruz’s bus drivers with such callous disrespect will be answered for.

(for what it's worth: we made lead story in the sentinel: www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2005/October/04/local/stories/01local.htm)





The event was organized by UCSC’s Student and Worker Coalition for Justice.
 
 


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Re: Students and Workers Visit Rotkin to Demand an End to the Bus Strike

Rotkin claims he voted for the agreement, this is good. But Rotkin also made a number of public statements against the agreement. In addition Rotkin directly scabbed against the bus drivers in their last strike a number of years ago.
 

Re: Students and Workers Visit Rotkin to Demand an End to the Bus Strike

Rotkin is a labor trader. He should be booted from his position as AFT union rep for UCSC lecturers.
 

Re: Students and Workers Visit Rotkin to Demand an End to the Bus Strike

If I needed a job and these people aren't willing to do the one they have now (driving busses), why should I be prevented from doing it? I've driven a big rig for 8 years, and I can tell you it wasn't exactly hauling Mercedes to the dealership. Mostly farm produce.

People here depend on city transit to get to their jobs. It is irresponsible to use these poor folk as human shields in some wrestling match for better bennies.

Get your priorities straight, get back in those seats, and get those busses rolling. Stop thinking only about yourselves for a change. Think about other people.
 

UTU Refuses Metro request to keep Paracruz handicapped transit service running

Tough luck for us cripples, huh? Thanks a lot UTU.

On August 2, 2005, METRO reached impasse with United Transportation Union (UTU) Local 23 represented employees after two mediation sessions. METRO has provided UTU with a Last, Best & Final Offer to attempt to settle the contract. METRO has offered to, in a time where there is a $1.4 million deficit, in exchange for some work rule changes, and through the use of one time money equal to 2% of their salary, to greatly reduce the impact of medical insurance premiums.

UTU feels that the medical insurance premium issue is one of parity and that they should be provided with all of the funds necessary ($387,000) to pay the full cost of medical insurance. This is in spite of a decision made by UTU five years ago set the medical insurance caps where they are today. The actions being taken by METRO today are to rectify the problem that UTU created for themselves. All monies saved by changing UTU's contract as proposed by METRO will be given to employees to reduce their medical insurance premiums.

The sticking point with UTU is that they are unwilling to make changes to their current contract to reallocate the savings towards their medical insurance premiums.

METRO feels that the offer made to our UTU employees represents the best that we can do in these difficult economic times while also considering the needs of the public and the employees. We are borrowing funds in order to provide the 2% payments to our employees because we feel a need to provide some additional compensation to help with medical insurance costs, but to do any more at this time would not be responsible budgeting.
METRO has asked that UTU sign an agreement to allow ParaCruz, our service for disabled passengers unable to use regular METRO buses, to continue to operate during any job actions. To date UTU has refused.
 

Re: Students and Workers Visit Rotkin to Demand an End to the Bus Strike

I don't know where "Sydney" got his information but it is totally incorrect. UTU has emphasized the point over and over again that we are making sure ALL PARATRANSIT SERVICES ARE OPERATING IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY. Call their office - they are running. I wish people would make the effort to get correct information - not just information from the District or the Sentinel - before they write a scathing opinion piece about our bus operators.

This is an unfair labor practice strike. The District has engaged in bad faith bargaining. We had a state mediated no strike no lockout agreement. It was signed by the General Manager Les White. The Board reneged on that agreement. This is an unprecidented event - not adopting a state mediated no strike agreement.

The District has refused our right to a grievance process - they said it was because we did not have a contract. It was the District's decision to let our contract expire on August 2 in the first place. We had a mediation session set for August 2nd, the mediator didn't show up, we asked to reschedule, the District said "No" and chose to let our contract expire instead.

All we are asking is for the District to return to the table and negotiate a contract with us. This strike has gone on for 10 days, they are not talking to us. Why not? Because every day we are on strike they save money. Do they care about their passengers? The Board called an "emergency meeting" .... in six days. SIX DAYS!! SIX DAYS!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! Why next Tuesday, why not tomorrow? Is it because Board members are on vacation? Where are you Mr. Keogh?

There is more bus service in New Orleans than there is in Santa Cruz County. The Board and the District need to get their act together and return to the bargaining table.
 

Re: Students and Workers Visit Rotkin to Demand an End to the Bus Strike

yer right john deere. god forbid! bus drivers are thinking of themselves... oh my! everybody that's oppressed should express full solidarity in total submission, then we'll have EQUALITY! and that's what america's about right! infighting amongst oppressed and resistance groups so that power will always maintain.
 

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