Archive for the ‘Bus news’ Category

Thank you to our veterans

As we pause to recall the sacrifices that those who have served and their families have made to solidify and defend the freedoms that we enjoy in the United States, SMART-TD wanted to provide this list of services available to military veterans today and throughout the year.

Those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces were placed in harm’s way in a commitment to a higher calling — that of our country. I am proud not only to serve the membership of SMART – Transportation Division who are among the ranks of U.S. military veterans as SMART-TD president but I am proud to stand with them as an Army veteran myself, having served for three years.

The bonds formed in service of any kind to others are among the strongest of all. Collectively, working toward a common goal, those in our armed forces exemplify the epitome of strength, focus and sacrifice, shielding the United States and preserving our American way of life through the country’s 243 years of existence.

The bond of military service has lifted the country to triumph in times of conflict, reshaped the course of world history and has shielded the constitutionally protected freedoms we all enjoy. Each and every veteran has had a role in the preservation of our country. Each and every veteran deserves to feel a sense of appreciation on this Veterans Day.

On behalf of SMART-Transportation Division, to all U.S. military veterans, we thank you once again for your service.

Fraternally,

Jeremy Ferguson
President — Transportation Division
U.S. Army, 1988-1991


Services and discounts

As an annual tradition, many businesses provide free services or discounts to veterans. Here is a list of some of those available today.


Veterans Administration

The purpose of this federal agency is to oversee the benefits to which the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces are entitled.


VA Crisis Hotline

This crisis line links people to caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs and is available 24/7 via telephone, web or text. Many of the counselors are veterans themselves.

Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.


Make the Connection

This online resource is designed to connect veterans, family members and friends and other supporters with information, resources and solutions to issues affecting the lives of veterans.


Mission 22

This nonprofit’s focus is to combat the veteran suicide rate through veteran treatment programs. It also organizes events and builds memorials while engaging people with an an ambassador volunteer program to create social impact and awareness for these issues.


Wounded Warrior Project

The program serves alumni — those men and women who have experienced a physical or mental injury while in service to the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. All services offered by the Wounded Warrior Project are free.


Hope for the Warriors

Hope for the Warriors provides comprehensive support programs for service members, veterans, and military families that are focused on transition, health and wellness, peer engagement, and connections to community resources.


Save A Warrior

Save A Warrior provides an alternative holistic services that equip veterans, military personnel, police, firefighters and other first responders with a community of support and effective techniques to overcome symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress.


Give An Hour

This organization provides care for those who otherwise might not receive it by harnessing the skill, expertise and generosity of volunteer mental health professionals.


Union Veterans Council

Issues surrounding veterans and union employees are not independent of each other, this AFL-CIO affiliated organization says. It brings working-class veterans together to speak out on the issues such as the need for good jobs and a strong, fully funded and staffed VA.


Vets 4 Warriors

A 24/7 confidential peer support network — call 855-838-8255 — for veteran and military communities to provide peer support through confidential phone, chat, text, and email conversations to serve anyone who has ever worn the uniform, as well as the family members and the caregivers who love and support them.


Vet Roadmap

This guide is to help veterans return to civilian life and was created by the coordination of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative (MSI) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program.


Hire A Hero

Hire A Hero allows veterans to upload resumes and search for military-friendly jobs.


Show Your Stripes

Another website sponsored by Iheartradio that links veterans to potential employment opportunities.


Union Plus Mortgage veterans grant

The Union Plus Mortgage Program offers a $1,000 grant to veterans and their family members who obtain a mortgage through this Union Plus program.


Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP)

This non-profit, HUD-approved housing counseling organization seeks to increase sustainable homeownership, financial-literacy education, VA loan awareness and economic opportunity for the active-military and veteran communities.


Homes for Heroes

This large nationwide network of affiliate real estate, mortgage, and local business specialists intends to provide easy ways for veterans to save on a home. The organization connects veterans with specialists who can answer specific real estate and/or mortgage questions, and provide helpful tips.


Team RWB

The goal of this organization is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.


K9 Warriors

This is the nation’s largest provider of service dogs for disabled American veterans, which rescues dogs and trains them to become service dogs for veterans.


USA Cares

This group provides financial and advocacy assistance to post-9/11 active-duty U.S. military service personnel, veterans and their families.

Your Track to Health lists resources for those affected by wildfires

Intense wildfires have affected thousands of people in California, including SMART Transportation Division members.

To help assist those who have had their lives impacted by these disasters, Your Track to Health has compiled a list of services and information for behavioral health, prescription providers, vision, dental and health insurance resources and counseling.

To see the entire list, visit this link.

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 is similar. This means, for example, for a nomination meeting in October, the nominator 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.