Open letter to negotiating parties of Keolis North America, Teamsters Local 533 | Silver – Reno Gazette Journal

Ann Silver  |  Reno Gazette Journal

This opinion column was submitted by Ann Silver, CEO of the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce.

As the CEO of the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce, I am privileged to work with thousands of employers and their employees in the Truckee Meadows to build more equitable, inclusive and fulfilling work environments. Public transit and mobility play an integral role in ensuring a robust economy and adding to the attractiveness of our region.

Unfortunately, two separate strikes have ground public transit to a near halt. As a result, employees are unable to get to their jobs and access to essential services like grocery shopping and doctors’ visits have been dramatically impacted.

In my prior role as a labor negotiator in New York City, I was involved in many collective bargaining agreements. Negotiations can be time-consuming and even contentious, but the nature of negotiation requires both parties to be willing to compromise and usually, neither party gets all that it wants. Good faith negotiations also require both parties to remain at the bargaining table until outstanding issues are resolved, one by one. In my previous time at the table, I’ve never encountered a strike taking place while negotiations are still underway.

Nevertheless, we have an opportunity to put this strike behind us; Keolis has offered a long-term extension of the previous Teamsters contract that includes pay raises and some other contract terms. The Chamber of Commerce encourages Teamsters Local 533 to give serious consideration to the proposals on the table for the sake of commerce and the livelihood of its members, without much-needed pay as this strike continues. Returning to work will not invalidate the need for Keolis to continue to work with Teamster members on concerns and working conditions.

As we return our local economy to full strength, it’s vital that service for passengers is restored and businesses can depend on safe, reliable transportation for their employees. Our community deserves no less than negotiations that reflect the rational and constructive thinking of both parties.

Ann Silver is the chief executive officer of Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce.

More: RTC bus drivers on strike again, halting buses for second time since August

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