Story misrepresents true feelings of Stage drivers
An article in the Summit Daily News Sept. 26 headlined “Commissioners approve labor agreement for Summit Stage,” contained some erroneous and misleading information that needed a response.
The statement by Summit Stage director Bill Watterson that “the process was a very amicable one in terms of dialogue, and there wasn’t any stress,” is puzzling and contrary to the fact it took more than a year to come to agreement and only after having to exercise a legal right to have a federal mediator.
I assure you, the lengthy negotiations and having to resort to a federal mediator did not give any appearance of amicable negotiation and created a great deal of stress for Summit Stage drivers.
I can understand that there may not have been any stress for Mr. Watterson. The article states that, “both sides are proud of the contract.” The contract was ratified by a minority vote of the drivers, and a large number of drivers chose not to vote at all.
A number of drivers have withdrawn from the union. Does that sound like a proud rank and file? The article states that 85 percent of the 38 Amalgamated Transit Union member drivers ratified the agreement.
I believe this was just a misunderstanding of information and not an intention to deceive or mislead. For the record, approximately 36 percent of Summit Stage drivers ratified the agreement.
Summit County Human Resources Director Scott Vargo said: “Much of the county’s negotiating concerns lay in not giving Stage drivers work conditions other, non-union county employees didn’t receive.”
That being the county objective in negotiation with the union, it is understandable why it took more than a year, and a federal mediator, to reach an agreement. The county achieved its objective. Stage drivers have not been given work conditions other, non-union county employees didn’t receive.
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