A fear of a possible COTA strike is weighing heavily on one downtown business owner, 10TV’s Danielle Elias reported on Wednesday.
Pat Stone, who owns the Peanut Shoppe on High Street, said that she remembers the COTA strike in the late 1980s.
“We’re probably the only retail store still left downtown that remembers what it was like back in 1987,” Stone said. “It’s 30 years, but shops like mine, we don’t forget. We remember just how awful it could be.”
Stone said that her business dropped dramatically because of the strike.
“The difficulty is there weren’t enough people downtown to warrant the business that we normally saw,” Stone said.
Stone said that she feared that a possible COTA strike, which could come early next week if members of the Transportation Workers Union Local #208 and COTA officials do not come to a compromise, would again cripple her business, Elias reported.
Union President Andrew Jordan said that he would like COTA to be in service on Monday morning. However, he said that the sticking points remain wages, working conditions and pension contributions.
“Those individuals are counting on us being there Monday morning, would like for us to be there,” Jordan said. “We would like for us to be there Monday morning.”
Curtis Stitt, president and CEO of COTA, said that he was hoping to avoid a strike.
“It impacts, not the bottom line of the employer in this instance, like other strikes do.” Stitt said. He said those who “aren't at the table negotiating this contract are the people who are going to get hurt first and that's unfair to those people and that's unfair to our community”
Stone said that she hopes history does not repeat itself, Elias reported.
“They deserve decent pay, they deserve decent benefits,” Stone said. “I just hope that management and drivers can come to an agreement.”
The two parties plan to meet on Sunday afternoon.
Jordon said that even if parties were to come a resolution on Sunday, it would be too late and would force at least a one-day strike, Elias reported.
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for more information.