Archive for the ‘Bus news’ Category

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.

Open enrollment underway for SMART TD’s new VDP

Open enrollment has begun for SMART Transportation Division bus and rail members in the union’s new Voluntary Disability Plan (VDP). The plan, now underwritten by Amalgamated Life Insurance Company, is available for long-term protection against a sudden loss of income due to an illness or injury. Although Open Enrollment will run through Nov. 30, 2019, members may sign up at any time during the enrollment period. Coverage will commence upon successful completion of the enrollment process.

This plan has been established to provide yet another level of financial security to members in the event that a long-term recovery from an illness or injury leaves them unable to work. Members can customize their 24-7 coverage by selecting the benefit option best suiting their individual needs and then pay for coverage through payroll deductions. VDP benefits are payable after a 180-day elimination period and are paid in addition to any other benefits such as the TD Voluntary Short-Term Disability (VSTD) plan, worker’s comp, Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) sickness benefit or others.

The new VDP has two- and five-year options with monthly benefits starting at $300 up to $5,000 available in $100 increments that can cover up to 60% of an enrollee’s earnings. Approval of benefits from Amalgamated is subject to participation requirements and/or simplified medical underwriting.

This VDP coverage is portable for all members, and it won’t be lost if an enrollee is furloughed or suspended. Benefits remain payable in addition to other disability benefits, exceed those of standard long-term disability plans and will give financial security in a time of need.

This plan is optional and voluntary. If a member does not enroll, he or she will not be covered.

Information concerning benefit options and rates for all SMART TD members is available at www.smart-vltd.com, by emailing info@smart-vltd.com or by calling the SMART TD VDP Enrollment Center at 224-770-5328.

Regional meeting hotel discount deadline extended until June 11

Due to increased demand, additional discounted rooms have been secured at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel for SMART Transportation Division’s Regional Meeting from June 30 to July 3, 2019, in San Diego.

Members now can reserve rooms at a discounted rate until June 11.

At the meeting in San Diego — home to a world-renowned zoo and spectacular ocean views -— members can expect informative workshops and many chances to build camaraderie with your fellow union brothers and sisters.

See details of the two tours and the Tuesday night ballpark event to watch the San Diego Padres play the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park (shown at right) planned for registered guests. Space to both the tours and to the baseball game is limited.

As a reminder, the deadline for SMART TD members to receive a discounted meeting registration for themselves and guests is June 17. After that deadline, on-site registration is available during the meeting and costs $200.

More information, including updates about workshops, discount information for flights, rental cars and the Hilton Bayfront, the event’s host hotel, is available at this link.

SMART TD hopes that you’ll attend what will prove to be both an informative and enjoyable regional meeting this summer!

TD members’ photo submissions needed to be featured at General Convention

We’re looking for photo submissions featuring SMART TD members on the job or in uniform to be displayed this summer at the SMART General Convention in Las Vegas. The submission deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, June 7.

High-resolution digital photographs should be emailed to: “news_TD@smart-union.org.”

In addition to the convention displays, submissions also will be considered for the TD newspaper’s Photo of the Month and for the annual TD Alumni calendar.

Be sure to include the photographer’s name and local number, the name(s) of the person(s) in the photograph (left to right) and their local number and any other pertinent information, such as the date and location where the photograph was taken.

Due to federal or state regulations and company restrictions on employees’ use of personal electronic devices, including cameras, on company property or while on duty, all members are advised to never take photos while on duty and to only take photos from a clear point of safety and in compliance with all applicable company rules.

All photographs submitted become property of SMART Transportation Division.

Please be sure to follow all rules regarding photography on your respective properties. Once again, the deadline for convention submissions is June 7.

2019 Regional Meeting: Night at Padres’ Petco Park offers food and fun

SMART Transportation Division has a grand slam of a time planned at San Diego’s Petco Park for registered attendees of the 2019 Regional Meeting on the evening of Tuesday, July 2.

Food, fun and baseball will be the name of the game as registered meeting attendees watch the Padres take on the National League West rival San Francisco Giants at the Padres’ home field, a short walk from the host Hilton Bayfront Hotel.

Attendees can feast on summer favorites and ballpark classics from the grill, including barbecue chicken, hot dogs and more on the historic Western Metal Building rooftop (pictured above) in left field. Food and beverage service will begin one hour prior to first pitch at 7:10 p.m. Food service will be available for two hours, and beverages will be available through the seventh inning.

The game can be enjoyed from the Western Metal rooftop, the terrace-level sports bar “The Loft,” or from adjoining seats at “The Rail.” Traditional seats are also available in Sections 226 and 228.

Members will have a chance to mingle and make memories with their guests, families and union brothers and sisters during this exciting night at Petco.

Admission to the ballpark event is included with a paid registration to the TD Regional Meeting taking place July 1 – 3, 2019, at San Diego’s Hilton Bayfront Hotel.

Don’t delay! Register today online or via mail-in form.

Police get suspect in assault on Montebello bus rider

Update:

Police now have a suspect in custody after members of the community identified the man in the video.

“On May 3rd, 2019, Montebello Detectives received information from several citizens who recognized the suspect from the video. Detectives were able to contact witnesses who positively identified the suspect. In an attempt to locate the suspect, Detectives discovered the suspect was currently in custody and being housed at the Los Angeles County Jail for an arrest for domestic violence which occurred on April 3rd, 2019,” Montebello police said in a statement on the department’s Facebook page.

“The Montebello police department will present this bus assault case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration. The suspect has been identified as Vincent Eric Ramirez, 32 years of age. Ramirez is a Montebello resident.

“Thank you to the community for your help and efforts in solving this crime. Your support made the difference in this case.”


Original story:

Police are asking for the help of the public in finding a man who brutally attacked another passenger as they both were exiting a Montebello bus March 12.

According to police and bus surveillance video, the suspect punched the victim in the back of the head as he got off the bus, knocking the victim unconscious. The attacker then kicked the man three times before walking away.

“The suspect appears to be in his mid to late 20’s, medium build with a goatee. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, blue khaki pants and a black backpack. Please also listen to the voice of the suspect at the beginning of the video,” Montebello police said in a post published May 2 on their facebook page in a plea for help in identifying the suspect.

SMART Transportation Division represents bus operators and mechanics employed by Montebello Bus Lines in Local 1701 in Montebello, California.

The assailant could have easily turned and assaulted the bus operator as well, which is why SMART TD supports H.R. 1139 – the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act, which would protect bus operators from violent incidents like this one.

Click here to ask legislators for their support on H.R. 1139.

Click here to read more from KTLA5.