Archive for the ‘Bus news’ Category

Virginia SLD reminds state voters: Absentee voting has begun!

SMART Transportation Division Virginia State Legislative Director Ronnie Hobbs issued a reminder Oct. 16 that absentee voting in-person or by mail has begun for the state’s Nov. 5 general elections.

Voters can cast absentee ballots in person at their local voting registration office.

Virginia members can visit this link for their absentee in-person location or Virginia members can visit this link to apply online for an absentee ballot.

By voting absentee, Virginia residents can make sure their work schedule or a family emergency does not impact their right to vote. To vote absentee in Virginia, voters must have a reason (code 1D or 1E should work for rail workers and retirees).

“No matter whom you choose, choose to vote early!” Hobbs said.

FMCSA re-charters its safety advisory committee

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced in a notice published in the Federal Register on Oct. 2 that it was renewing the charter of its Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) for two years, effective Sept. 27.

The MCSAC was established to provide FMCSA with advice and recommendations on motor carrier safety programs and motor carrier safety regulations. Membership is composed of up to 25 experts from the motor carrier safety advocacy, safety enforcement, industry and labor sectors. They are appointed by the FMCSA administrator for two-year terms.

Current labor representatives on the committee are LaMont Byrd, a vice chairman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Bruce Hamilton, a vice president for the Amalgamated Transit Union; and Christopher Treml, director of construction training for the International Union of Operating Engineers.

For more information about MCSAC, visit the committee’s website.

Autumn brings nominations and elections for locals

SMART Transportation Division members are reminded that legislative representative and alternate legislative representative elections are scheduled to be held this autumn, with nominations to be taken in October and elections conducted in November.

Locals must solicit for the nomination of candidates in October seeking the four-year legislative offices. Those eligible to hold office as a legislative representative or alternate legislative representative must be qualified voters, meaning they are registered to vote in public elections. The duties of a legislative representative are listed in SMART Constitution Article 21B, Section 66.

Members are also reminded that any existing local vacancies should be addressed during these elections.

Local secretaries and secretary and treasurers should take steps now to ensure their records reflect accurate membership listings and mailing addresses.

As per the constitution’s Article 21B, Section 57, nomination meetings must be held in October, with election tabulations conducted in November. Winning candidates generally will assume their offices on Jan. 1, 2020. Those filling a vacancy, however, take office immediately.

SMART Constitution Article 21B, Section 58, contemplates an installation ceremony for officers named in Article 21B, Section 56. Elected officers who must present themselves at a regular or special meeting for installation within 60 days following their election include president, vice president, secretary, treasurer (or secretary-treasurer), and trustees. Section 58 does not apply to LCA officers, delegates, alternate delegates, legislative representatives or alternate legislative representatives.

In most cases, candidates must garner a simple majority of valid votes cast to win election to a Transportation Division office. (A simple majority can be thought of as 50 percent of votes, plus at least one more vote.) In the case of the Board of Trustees (or any other ballot position where voters are instructed to pick more than one of the candidates listed), winning candidates must obtain a majority of the ballots cast.

The process begins

For the local’s secretary or secretary and treasurer, the election process begins with an effort to update the membership roster, ensuring accurate addresses are on file for each member. Our constitution requires each member to keep the local secretary and treasurer advised of his or her current home address. At the same time, U.S. Department of Labor regulations and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) require the local to take steps to update addresses in advance of an election.
Members can update their address by contacting their local secretary, secretary and treasurer, or treasurer, or can do so themselves through the TD website.

Nominations

The local secretary must post a notice at least 10 days in advance of the October nomination meeting indicating when and where nominations for affected positions will take place. The notice should include which positions are open for nominations, and should indicate how nominations can be made, especially by those who cannot attend the nomination meeting. Notices should be placed in as many locations as needed to ensure it can reasonably be concluded that all members had an opportunity to see the notices.

All locals have been mailed instructional packets that include samples of the nomination notices which must be conspicuously posted where it can be reasonably calculated to inform all affected members. While nomination notices are not required by law to be mailed directly to all affected members, in light of recent court rulings, it is highly recommended that the postcards available for this purpose be obtained from the TD Supply Department and mailed to all members.

Nominations may be made by any member in good standing from the floor at the nomination meeting. Nominations do not require being seconded. Any member may self-nominate. If a member wishes to self-nominate or nominate someone else, but can’t attend the meeting, nominations can be entered through a petition. A nomination petition must state the name of the nominee, the position for which the member is being nominated, and must carry at least five signatures of dues-paying members in good standing. No nominations can be accepted following the close of the nomination meeting. A nominee need not be in attendance at the nomination meeting for the nomination to be valid.

If only one member is nominated for a position, that member can be declared elected by acclamation.

Members in E-49 status are eligible to run for office, but they cannot make nominations and they cannot vote. If elected, acceptance of pay from the company or the union creates a dues obligation.

In all cases, a notice of the election must be mailed to all members, including those in E-49 status (but not including retirees). If your local is conducting its election by mail, the mailed ballots can serve as the required notice of election, but such ballots must be mailed at least 15 days in advance of the date of tabulation and must be mailed to those in E-49 status. (The tellers will determine on the day of tabulation whether a member is in E-49 status and his or her vote should be counted.) The Department of Labor does not count the day of mailing as part of that 15-day window, but it does count the day of tabulation.

Those conducting floor votes can obtain postcards notifying members of the time, date and place of the election from our Supply Department. These notices must be mailed at least 15 days in advance of the date of tabulation.

Eligibility

To be eligible to vote, all dues and assessments must be paid within the time frame specified by the constitution. Article 21B, Section 49, indicates dues are to be paid in advance, before the first day of the month in which they are due. Eligibility to make nominations or to be nominated is similar. This means, for example, for a nomination meeting in October, the nominator and the nominee must have paid all dues obligations prior to October 1. To vote in November, the voter must have paid all dues obligations prior to November 1.

More information

Members are encouraged to consult Article 21B of the SMART Constitution for information regarding elections. Unless an item within Article 21B directs you to a further stipulation outside of Article 21B, only the provisions found within Article 21B are applicable to Transportation Division elections. The local election process is addressed directly by Article 21B, Section 57.

Members can consult their local officers to examine the election guidance material distributed by this officer, or they can visit the S&T Tools page on the TD website and scroll down to the election guidance materials.

Questions?

There are many provisions not covered by this article, including those which address candidates’ rights and permitted means of campaigning. Those with election questions are urged to call the TD office at 216-228-9400.

GoFundMe opened for member shot while on the job

On July 22 of this year, Local 1715 member Karen Taylor was shot five times in broad daylight while her Charlotte Area Transit Systems (CATS) bus was stopped to unload passengers.

“…just as the last person stepped off of her bus, a man appeared out of nowhere and shot five times into her bus,” Taylor’s daughter, Latavia Clark, wrote on a gofundme page opened for Taylor. “All five shots struck my unsuspecting mother in her head, neck, shoulder and ear. One bullet and bullet fragments are still lodged in her skull.”

Taylor has already had four surgeries and is facing more in the future. The road to recovery is expected to be a long one and the bills are adding up as Taylor’s worker’s compensation claim has been denied.

Click here to donate or to leave your well wishes.

Happy Labor Day from SMART TD


Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 after President Grover Cleveland signed it into law to appease angry union workers following a railroad labor strike that President Cleveland sent armed troops in to break up. More than a dozen workers were killed.

More information is available from National Public Radio, The History Channel or here from the U.S. Department of Labor.

SMART Transportation Division wishes all members and their families a safe and happy Labor Day!

Local officers: Deadline to order timebooks is Sept. 16

In order to alleviate significant expense and wasteful distribution of timebooks, all locals must complete a timebook order form for the year 2020 and return it to the SMART TD office by Monday, Sept. 16, 2019.

It’s important that the form is completed by a local officer, even if the local does not desire to receive the books (just note “0” on the quantity requested line and return). All locals will be contacted if a form is not received to ensure accurate ordering this fall. You may return the form — available on the TD website — by any one of the methods listed below.

Fax to: 216-227-5208 – ATTN: Dora Wolf
Email to: dwolf@smart-union.org

Via mail to:
SMART TD
ATTN: Dora Wolf
24950 Country Club Blvd, Ste. 340
North Olmsted, OH 44070 – 5333

A confirmation email will be sent to acknowledge receipt of your order – if you do not receive the email within 10 days of your order being submitted, please contact Dora by calling the TD office at 216-228-9400.

New officers chosen at Second TD Convention

SMART Transportation Division President-elect Jeremy R. Ferguson addresses the Second SMART TD Convention on Sunday, Aug. 11, in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS – SMART GEC Member and Transportation Division (TD) Vice President Jeremy R. Ferguson of Local 313 (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was elected President – Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, shortly after the opening August 11th of the union’s Second Transportation Division Convention at the Mirage Resort in Las Vegas.

Ferguson was challenged for the office by fellow TD Vice President John England (Local 1674, Los Angeles, Calif.) and Robert “Bob” Keeley, former general chairperson of GCA 342 (CSX – Northern District) out of Local 1951 (Albany, N.Y.). Ferguson received 380 votes of the 440 ballots cast.

“Get ready to go to work … It’s going to take the upmost dedication and determination, but we will fight the injustices to the end,” Ferguson said. “We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and I will lead from the front. Your voices will be heard, and you will hear my voice.

“General chairpersons, state directors – you deserve more from us, and we will deliver.”

Alternate National Legislative Director Gregory Hynes (Local 1081, Phoenix, Ariz.) was elected National Legislative Director, defeating Utah State Legislative Director F. Jay Seegmiller (Local 166, Salt Lake City, Utah) in a 255-to-185 vote. Hynes will succeed John J. Risch III, who previously announced he would not seek re-election.

SMART TD National Legislative Director-elect Gregory Hynes addresses delegates Aug. 11 at the Second SMART TD Convention in Las Vegas.

Incumbent TD Vice Presidents Brent Leonard (Local 202, Denver, Colo.), Calvin Studivant (Local 759, Newark, N.J.) and John D. Whitaker III (Local 1106, Rocky Mount, N.C.) were returned to office by acclamation.

Also elected TD Vice President by acclamation were Alternate TD Vice President Chadrick Adams (Local 331, Temple, Texas), Executive Board Member and GCA 049 General Chairperson Jamie Modesitt and Joe M. Lopez, general chairperson of GCA 009 (BNSF).

Additionally, General Chairperson D.B. Wier, Jr., (GCA 919, Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis) of Local 469 was elected TD vice president, defeating General Chairperson Tom Pate (GCA 20, BNSF), president of Local 1081 in Glendale, Ariz., and General Chairperson Billy Moye (GCA CSX-SCL) of Local 1971 in Atlanta, Ga.

Meanwhile, Alternate Vice President Bus – East Alvy Hughes (Local 1596. Charlotte, N.C.) defeated Bonnie Morr (Local 23, Santa Cruz, Calif.) and incumbent Vice President Bus Adhi Reddy (Local 1785, Santa Monica, Calif.) for TD Vice President Bus.

Article 21B, Section 35, of the SMART Constitution provides for a successor to the president of the Transportation Division in the event a vacancy occurs between conventions. To provide for such a contingency, delegates chose TD Vice President-elect Leonard to that position.

Kentucky State Legislative Director Jared Cassity was elected Alternate National Legislative Director. Waverly Harris, TD Alternate Vice President Bus – East, was elected to that position by acclamation.

Alternate Vice President Bus – West Guillermo Rosales was returned to that office, defeating Erskins Robinson, general chairperson of GCA SMB, out of Local 1785.

Among five candidates for four TD alternate vice president positions, Scott Chelette, Gary Crest, Larry Miller Jr. and Christopher Bartz were elected.

SMART TD Board of Appeals members elected by acclamation are Tim Flynn (engine services), Tessa Collins (road service), Rick Pauli (commuter), and Brenda Moore (bus).

Incumbent Kevin Smith won an election and will return as the Board of Appeals yard representative.

Elected to the TD Executive Board by acclamation were California Assistant State Legislative Director Mike Anderson, Dale Gerkin, John Dunn, Rex Allen and New York State Legislative Director Sam Nasca.

Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner was elected Alternate to the Executive Board by acclamation.

The newly elected officers assume their roles officially on Oct. 1.

Updated books spell out federal laws for rail and bus members

Larry Mann, rail safety coordinator to SMART TD’s Designated Legal Counsel.The safety coordinator to the SMART Transportation Division Designated Legal Counsel has updated a pair of publications that offer comprehensive surveys of federal laws that cover TD members who work in the rail industry and who work as bus operators.

“What Every Railroader Should Know About the Federal Railroad Safety Laws and Regulations,” by Larry Mann, has been updated with changes that have occurred since the 2014 version’s release and contains detailed information about how federal railroad safety law pertains to railroad workers.

“What Every Bus Driver Should Know,” also by Mann, does the same for bus members and is essential reading for TD members concerned about how the law protects them.

Mann, who has served as DLC rail safety coordinator since the position was created in 2008, has extensive legal experience in the transportation industry and has given SMART Transportation Division permission to distribute both the updated rail book and the updated bus book via PDF on the TD website.

What Every Bus Driver Should Know
(June 2019)
What Every Railroad Worker Should Know
(June 2019)

CATS bus driver expected to recover after being shot multiple times

A SMART TD member who drives for the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) was shot multiple times on Monday afternoon at the Charlotte Transportation Center uptown and was hospitalized, according to WSOC-TV Channel 9 in Charlotte, N.C.

Police told WSOC that the suspect in the Charlotte shooting, T.B. Moss, has a criminal record and was taken into custody soon after the incident by authorities. Police said Moss may have specifically targeted the bus driver. She is expected to recover, according to media reports, but this incident again highlights the need for the implementation of increased safety measures for bus and transit operators as provided by the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act (H.R. 1139 and S. 436) so that our members can come home safely after a day’s work.

Please visit the TD Legislative Action Center to tell your elected officials to support this legislation to protect our union brothers and sisters, or better yet, contact them via phone or face-to-face.

NJT creates employee court advocate position

In a press release issued Wednesday, July 10, New Jersey Transit (NJT) announced that attorney Michael Rubin would be the carrier’s first employee court advocate to support operational employees who are victims of on-the-job assaults. The position was created in support of the New Jersey State Legislature’s added protections for front-line transportation workers to the state criminal assault statute.

Rubin has 15 years of experience with the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety and “will help employees who are victims of assault navigate the criminal justice system at no cost to the employee, and work with prosecutors to see that assailants face the full sentences allowable by law,” NJT said in the release.

“The creation of the Employee Court Advocate position confirms NJ Transit’s unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees,” said NJT President and CEO Kevin Corbett. “I am confident Michael Rubin will make a real difference in the lives of our front-line employees who are forced to navigate an unfamiliar legal system and ensure that assailants are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Rubin’s role includes meeting with NJT conductors and bus operators who have been assaulted to review their cases and help them understand their legal rights. When an employee is required to appear in court, he will accompany them to court to ensure that their rights are protected and prosecutors pursue appropriate charges and sentencing, NJT said.

Click here to read the full release from NJT.

SMART TD Regional Meeting: President Previsich says FRA action will not go unchallenged

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — In closing remarks to the SMART Transportation Division Regional Meeting July 3, TD President John Previsich said that recent actions of government agencies under the umbrella of the federal Department of Transportation will not go unchallenged.

Actions by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding safety issues have shown that those agencies have stepped away from their duties of overseeing the safety of communities and of the nation’s transportation workers, he said.

SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich addresses the closing session of the San Diego Regional Meeting at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel on July 3.

The FRA’s withdrawal of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in May plus a similar action within days by the FMCSA that withdrew a notice regarding bus operator safety is a starting point to what will be a challenging period for our union, Previsich said.

All options, including litigation, are being explored to challenge what Previsich had described in testimony before a U.S. House Subcommittee as FRA’s abdication of its safety oversight responsibilities by withdrawing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding minimum crew size. Attorneys general from every state that have implemented legislation requiring two-person freight crews are being invited to join with labor to protect the state laws.

The effort will address FRA’s abuse of authority by withdrawing the NPR, ignoring the comments that were overwhelmingly in favor of a two-person crew rule and the agency’s attempt to pre-empt state laws. It will be a “concerted” effort with other labor organizations.

Previsich said that the union is planning on a multi-faceted approach to take on FRA while also challenging Congress to pursue legislation to correct FRA’s refusal to oversee safety on the nation’s railroads.

Attendees at the July 3 closing session of the San Diego Regional Meeting listen to TD President John Previsich’s remarks at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel.

State legislative action surrounding two-person rail crews also will be ongoing, he said, and more details of our efforts as well as additional actions for members to take will be communicated in the near future.

“There is going to be a big push coming,” Previsich said. “We are going to reach out to you when the proper time comes and ask for your assistance. I think your members will be proud of their union and where we’re going with this.”

To do something immediately, members should take the time to watch the video of the House subcommittee hearing. There they will see who supports our efforts, and what opponents are saying.

All brothers and sisters should then contact their legislators directly to explain our issues to their U.S. House and Senate representatives, and why the current bills regarding transportation safety are important. An in-person visit, an option advocated by National Legislative Director John Risch during the Regional Meeting’s opening session, helps to personalize and drive these issues home no matter what political party the public official identifies with.

The TD Legislative Action Center is a one-stop repository that has information on federal bills advocating bus and transit operator safety, freight rail crew size and yardmaster safety.

Our brothers and sisters also should donate to the SMART TD PAC.

“There’s nothing more important in this environment today — in this political climate that we’re in — that we get access, and we get access through PAC,” Previsich said.

On the second day of the meeting, SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr. addressed the new leaders in attendance and encouraged them to take advantage of all resources available to them in both the Washington, D.C., and in the Cleveland offices.

The TD Regional Meeting theme — “Your Union Leading the Way” — was particularly appropriate this year — members “need to understand that ‘Your union’ is our union … 200,000 members are part of our union,” Sellers said. “And ‘leading the way’ means you leading the way, meaning us leading the way meaning leaders and members leading the way.”

In a time of upheaval in the industries that SMART members are employed in, efforts to grow the organization will continue to be a priority, and officers will take an important role in those efforts.

“We must continue to grow. We must organize, organize, organize — internal organizing, external organizing, making sure every worker is a SMART member,” Sellers said.

SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr., delivers opening remarks on Tuesday, July 2, the second day of the SMART Transportation Division Regional Meeting in San Diego, Calif.

From all levels of the union, it is up to everyone to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and build and maintain a strong foundation and maintain a powerful and nimble network that can take collective action to protect ourselves and the legacy our union represents, Sellers said.

“I want to make sure that we continue to build that foundation, that we continue to form this union so that future generations will have the same opportunity, enjoy that same representation, enjoy the same benefits of a collective bargaining agreement and enjoy a retirement particularly at a time when many people won’t have a retirement or work pension.”

Support from the SMART Army has brought results — members’ efforts beat back Right to Work For Less legislation in Washington one day after a call for mobilization at the state’s Capitol, and helped to get two-person crew legislation passed in Colorado and Nevada this year. They’ve also mobilized to defend proposed pension changes in Congress.

“As we build that, we will do better,” he said.

To join, text SMART Army to 21333.

In closing the meeting, Previsich announced that the 2020 TD Regional Meeting will be held in its home base of Cleveland, Ohio, at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown from Aug. 24 to 26.

The three-day San Diego meeting at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel featured more than 30 educational workshops intended to assist officers and strengthen our union at every level.

Legislative update: Where national bills of importance stand

Here’s a quick update on where legislation important to SMART Transportation Division members stands on a national level:

The Safe Freight Act in the U.S. House (H.R. 1748), national two-person crew legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Don Young in March, has 60 co-sponsors consisting of 56 Democrats and 4 Republicans. It has been referred to the House’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

The Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act has versions in both the U.S. House (H.R. 1139) and in the U.S. Senate (S. 436). It is intended to protect bus and transit operators from assault through various strategies and requires that both rail and bus transit agencies (those not covered by the FRA) create risk-reduction plans to protect operators and that the agencies submit those plans to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for approval. The Senate version has 13 co-sponsors since its introduction in February, while the House version has 145 co-sponsors since its February introduction. The Senate version has been referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, while the House version has been referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

The Railroad Yardmaster Protection Act of 2019 (H.R. 2449), which covers yardmaster hours of service, was introduced in early May and has two co-sponsors. It has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

Remember that your elected officials need to hear from you about these issues that matter to your safety in the workplace. An easy way to do this is by emailing your legislators through the SMART TD Legislative Action Center, but phone calls and face-to-face meetings help drive the point home even more.