[Colorado-talk] Article in the Denver Post

Alicia Richards alicia716 at msn.com
Fri Feb 20 19:14:37 UTC 2009

Hello, all.  Here is the text of the article from the Denver Post regarding
yesterday's meeting.  Speaking of the media not getting things right, I 
think we all got attributed to being there on behalf of the CCDC, not the 


RTD, union differ on strike impact
By Jeffrey Leib
The Denver Post
Posted: 02/20/2009 12:30:00 AM MST
Updated: 02/20/2009 01:17:43 AM MST

Photo Caption: About 60 people from the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition
attended Thursday's hearing to drive home that a possible RTD strike would
severely impact their lives. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post )

The transit workers union and members of metro Denver's disabled community
sparred with RTD officials Thursday at a hearing over whether a strike by
the union would interfere with public peace, health and safety.

The contract between the Regional Transportation District and Amalgamated
Transit Union Local 1001 expires Feb. 28. The union has filed a "notice of
intent to strike" with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment if it
cannot reach agreement with RTD on a new contract and the transit agency
refuses to submit unresolved issues to arbitration.

In filings with the labor department, Local 1001 said it believes a strike
would threaten public peace, health and safety, and for that reason, it
wants state officials to deny strike authorization to the union and instead
rely on binding arbitration to resolve any disputes.

Three years ago, Gov. Bill Owens' administration made it clear that it would
not invoke the arbitration provision to forestall a transit strike.

The union did strike, sharply curtailing transit service for a week.

At Thursday's hearing, Julie Reiskin of the Colorado Cross-Disability
Coalition, a disability-rights group, said the 2006 strike showed the loss
of bus and train service for many transit-dependent people met the standard
of interfering with public peace, health and safety. For that reason, the
labor department should reject the strike option, Reiskin said.

In response to Reiskin and testimony from union representatives, RTD general
manager Cal Marsella said his agency "is committed to doing whatever it can
to avoid" a strike.

But if state labor officials deny Local 1001 the strike option and impose
"third party" arbitration on the negotiations, it will "undermine the
confidence of both sides" and "put a chilling effect on the ability to
negotiate in good faith," he said.

An RTD official told the panel that if there is a strike, the transit agency
would continue to operate 45 percent of its fixed-route bus service using
private contractors who now operate those routes. Private companies also
would continue to provide access-a- Ride and call-n-Ride service. Light-rail
service would most likely halt.

RTD believes that while that would be an "inconvenience" to transit users,
it would not meet the standard of disrupting public health and safety.

A decision on whether to allow a strike will be made Tuesday.

Jeffrey Leib: 303-954-1645 or:

jleib at denverpost.com

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