Richard Deiser, a former Bus Department director and union vice president, died Feb. 28. He was 79 years old.
Richard Deiser, a former Bus Department vice president, passed away Feb. 28 at age 79.
“Rich was a great union brother who will be sorely missed by those who had the pleasure to work with him,” SMART Transportation Division Vice President Calvin Studivant said. “We extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to his wife and kids as well as all his loved ones.”
Deiser, of Dumont, N.J., was born July 2, 1940, in Bronx, N.Y. After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force and served for eight years while also attending the University of Maryland at the same time, taking extension courses.
After his discharge from the service, he worked for many years with Trans World Airlines in the air freight, meteorology and crew scheduling departments.
He began his career as a bus operator with Rockland Coaches in 1983. Immediately active in the affairs of his local, Deiser was appointed shop steward in 1985 and elected secretary in 1988. In 1998 he was elected as general chairperson of Local 1558, Bergenfield, N.J. He was re-elected three times to that position and also attained the offices of delegate and legislative representative.
After serving for six years as alternate vice president-bus-East, Deiser was elevated to vice president and director of the Bus Department in July 2009.
He served in that capacity until his retirement in 2011.
Brother Deiser is survived by his wife of 56 years, three children, five grandchildren, a great-grandson and a number of brothers and sisters.
Family and friends are welcome to celebrate Richard’s life from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Frech-McKnight Funeral Home, 161 Washington Ave., Dumont, NJ 07628. A funeral Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 3 at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Dumont. Donations in Deiser’s memory and in lieu of flowers may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516.
SMART Transportation Division expresses its condolences to Brother Deiser’s family, friends and his brothers and sisters out of Local 1558.
In June, Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano (D – Calif.) and Congressman John Katko (R — N.Y.) introduced the original bill, H.R.6016, that would enhance the safety of bus drivers nationwide.
“Ensuring a safe work environment for transit operators is crucial to improving our transportation system for both passengers and employees,” Van Hollen said. “This legislation makes a long overdue push to improve safety conditions for these men and women — and invests the resources to make it happen.”
Immediately upon the legislation’s introduction, SMART Transportation Division leaders announced their support for the bill, and they also support Van Hollen’s bill.
“There have been gruesome, inexcusable acts that have been committed on our bus members including shootings, stabbings and beatings, and little has been done about it. We need adequate driver shields and mandatory de-escalation training,” said National Legislative Director John Risch. “Our pledge is to continue to work with Congress and the administration to ensure all bus operators are given the protection they deserve.”
Countless news reports of incidents involving spitting, beatings and stabbings by unruly passengers have left SMART TD bus drivers as victims of frequent violence. A college student critically injured in a stabbing April 9 while he rode on a bus owned by Montebello Bus Lines (MBL), whose workers are represented by Local 1701, died in June of his injury.
“Every day we hear major news stories of bus drivers being beaten, having items thrown at them, spitted upon, and verbally abused. LA Metro, for instance, which operates in my district experiences approximately 130 assaults on bus drivers per year,” Napolitano said in a news release. “This is an unthinkable experience for drivers, and it also has major safety impacts on passengers, motorists and pedestrians, as these assaults often occur while the bus is moving.”
Both the House and Senate legislation require transit agencies to develop Bus Operations Safety Risk Reduction Programs by implementing physical barriers to prevent operator assaults, de-escalation training for bus drivers, driver-assisted technology to reduce accidents and modified bus specifications or retrofits to reduce visibility impairments.
“There is no higher priority than operator safety. On a daily basis, we see reports of drivers getting assaulted and having their lives irreversibly changed because they were behind the controls just doing their jobs,” said SMART TD Bus Department Vice President Calvin Studivant. “This critical legislation will significantly improve bus driver safety through risk reduction programs and other safety requirements.”
The Bus Operator and Pedestrian Protection Act and its Senate companion bill continue to build on SMART TD’s efforts to protect bus drivers and eliminate operator assaults, but the effort of members is needed to get political leaders to support the legislation via the Legislative Action Center.
H.R. 6016 as of July 24 had 36 cosponsors — two Republicans and 34 Democrats. It has been referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
S.3215 has been referred to the Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and co-sponsors are being sought.
WASHINGTON – Bus Department Alternate Vice President Calvin Studivant has been named by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Anne Ferro to a 20-member congressionally created Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee.
The committee will provide advice and recommendations to Ferro on safety programs and regulations affecting bus and truck drivers, their equipment and employers.
Studivant is a member of Local 759 (Newark, N.J.) and is employed as a driver by Community Coach, where he is UTU general chairperson and delegate from his local. He also serves as chairperson of the Association of General Chairpersons, District 3.
He recently assisted officers of First Student, Buffalo, N.Y., and the Red Arrow Division of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in Philadelphia negotiate new contracts, and is currently assisting in contract negotiations on behalf of Charlotte Area Transit System drivers who recently voted to return to UTU representation.
Almost a year has passed since Mike Futhey, Arty Martin and Kim Thompson took office.
They ran on a platform of specific promises, including full disclosure. Following are Futhey administration promises and results, so far:
Promise #1: Restructure the International by reducing the number of International officers in Cleveland,and providing the most possible assistance to general committees, state boards and local officers.
Results: The vice president-administration duties were consolidated with those of the general secretary and treasurer (GS&T), and that vice president position was reassigned to the field. All full-time officers are assigned on a full-time basis and are required to make detailed and timely reports of their activities.
Communication with local officers was expanded, especially through visits to locals and general committees by the International president, assistant president, GS&T and International vice presidents.
Also, the UTU Alumni Association was restructured to provide greater interaction between the UTU International and retirees.
Promise #2: Automate more functions.
Results: The Information Technology Department has accelerated the conversion of critical data from an antiquated mainframe computer to modern operating systems.
Direct deposit of dues, DIPP and UTUIA insurance premiums was implemented on CSX and portions of UP, with other national- agreement carriers to be added in 2009.
Automation of billing and auditing is underway.
Also, the iLink platform was expanded for use by general committees and state boards, allowing improved and more rapid access. iLink will be directly accessible from the UTU Web site by Dec. 1.
Promise #3: Expand education opportunities.
Results: The computer-based UTU University was created, providing structured, self-teaching programs through iLink. Group instruction, to assist officers in getting started, is underway.
The awards database search engine is being improved.
Regional meeting workshops are being fine tuned to better meet member needs, especially for officers administering the National Labor Relations Act.
Promise #4: Grow and protect the International’s finances.
Results: UTU International funds have increased by $3.4 million — some 45 percent — to $11 million since Jan. 1. They are managed for the most effective return consistent with a conservative investment approach.
Also, organizing of unorganized airline, bus and rail properties has been accelerated.
Promise #5: Expand the Bus Department.
Results: More aggressive organizing is underway of bus properties in the Northeast and on the West Coast.
Also, regional meeting workshops were beefed up to provide greater understanding of labor laws affecting bus members.
Promise #6: Yardmaster commitment.
Results: While there no longer is a vice president of the Yardmaster Department, a yardmaster vice president position remains within the International headquarters to provide assistance as requested.
Promise #7: Airline commitment.
Results: In spite of the demise of Big Sky Airlines, the assistant president is assigned to search out the unorganized in the aviation industry. Discussions are underway on two airline properties, where employee interest in the UTU, based on the quality of representation at Big Sky, is strong.
Promise #8: Improve the ability and ease of researching controlling awards.
Results: iLink now provides better access to controlling awards, plus secure chat rooms for various levels of elected officers to exchange information and ideas.
Promise #9: Grow the UTU through the right merger with the right organization, and provide full transparency in the process.
Results: The UTU International is aggressively defending attempts by the SMWIA to force a merger in the face of a federal court decision that members were not provided information on conflicts between the two constitutions prior to casting ballots in 2007.
Promise #10: Improve member services.
Results: Leadership reports are posted to the UTU Web site for member inspection.
Meetings have been held regularly by senior International officers with general chairpersons and state legislative directors in an open-forum format.
A monthly UTU News feature introduces members to UTU employees, and explains what they do.
Promise #11: Engage in successful contract negotiations.
Results: A new national rail agreement bettered the pattern was negotiated in January, and was overwhelmingly ratified by the membership.
Arbitration on training and service-scale is scheduled to commence in early December.
Also, UTU International officers are available to assist general chairpersons, as requested, including providing assistance in negotiating individualized agreements to satisfy the new rail-safety bill’s changes to hours of service and limbo time.
Advice on complying with the FRA’s emergency ban on use of electronic devices in the cab has been posted on the UTU Web site.
Advice on how hours-of-service changes in the safety bill will affect members will be posted by Dec. 1. Those changes are not effective until July 2009.
Promise #12: Expand the legislative agenda and deliver on those promises.
Results: The UTU provided leadership in passage of the Rail Safety Improvement Act — the most sweeping safety reform in 30 years. Included is a provision permitting general chairpersons to sit down with carrier labor relations officers and negotiate a better balance between time off and earnings, while preserving guaranteed time off.
UTU efforts to elect Barack Obama and labor friendly lawmakers exceeded any effort ever mounted by a labor union.
The UTU will continue efforts to fix the commercial driver’s license problem, and will work with the AFL-CIO to identify qualified nominees for regulatory agency positions in the Obama administration.
“We have achieved solid gains in pursuing platform objectives,” said UTU International President Mike Futhey. “We are committed to building on the accomplishments of the first year, and identifying new objectives to serve the membership.”