The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment denied Regional Transportation District transit union employees the right to strike. The ruling …
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The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment denied Regional
Transportation District transit union employees the right to
The ruling denying the members of amalgamated Transit Union
Local 1001 the right to strike was handed down late in the
afternoon Feb. 24.
The existing contract expires and the department’s ruling means
if contract negotiations between RTD and union negotiators reach an
impasse, the contract will be settled by binding arbitration.
The ruling requires that both sides provide a list of five
arbiters to the labor department by March 6. The deadline to
appoint an arbitrator is March 13 and the ruling requires that
arbitration will begin by March 27.
Holman Carter, union president, said the union is glad the
ruling provides the option to continue negotiations with RTD
He said plans are for the sides to begin negotiation meetings
“We have only met for negotiations twice and are just getting
started,” Carter said. “We feel that with the option of binding
arbitration available, we now can get down to meaningful
negotiation and reach a contract agreement.”
Lee Kemp, chairman of the RTD board of directors, released a
statement and said the district remains hopeful the sides can come
to a negotiated agreement.
“In these tough economic times, we need to work together,” the
statement continued. “We need to work together and remain focused
on delivering our services to the residents of the district.”
The union filed a notice of intent to strike with the state
labor department, Jan. 20.
The department conducted a hearing Feb. 19 in which both sides
presented their position.
The Amalgamated Transit Union 1001 asked for a ruling forbidding
the strike because of its impact on public health and safety.
However, RTD maintained the strike should have been allowed
because, while it would have caused inconveniences, it would not
have had significant impact on public health and safety.
RTD also maintained that mandating arbitration removed the
incentive to take part in meaningful contract negotiations.
The department’s ruling stated that the officials considered the
evidence presented by both sides and, in light of the complex
relationship between the public, the employer and the employees,
the decision was that an ATU strike would interfere with
preservation of public peace, health and safety.
The ruling was signed by Michael McArdle, director of the state
division of labor.
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