Vice Chairperson Debria L. Bradford (GCA-STU), 56, a longtime officer of SMART Transportation Division Local 1704 (Kansas City, Mo.), passed away Jan. 26, 2022.
“She served numerous positions in our local — sergeant of arms, trustee,” said General Chairperson Sharon Harris (GCA-STU). “Debria was instrumental in helping negotiate our last contract. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”
Services for Sister Bradford will be Feb. 4, 2022, beginning with a 10 to 11 a.m. viewing. Services will immediately follow at Memorial Missionary Baptist Church, 11424 Hickman Mills Dr., Kansas City, Mo., 64134
“Our union mourns her passing,” said Bus Department Vice President Calvin Studivant. “May her memory always be a blessing.”
SMART Transportation Division expresses its condolences to Sister Bradford’s family, friends and her brothers and sisters in Local 1704 whom she proudly served for many years.
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.
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.
Washington, D.C. (June 6, 2018) – SMART Transportation Division leaders announced today their support for the Bus Operator and Pedestrian Protection Act introduced by Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano (D – Calif.) and Congressman John Katko (R — New York) that would enhance the safety of bus drivers nationwide.
Incidents of assaults on bus operators occur daily and threaten the safety of both our members and the riding public. Countless news reports of incidents involving spitting, beatings and stabbings by unruly passengers have left SMART-TD bus drivers as victims of frequent violence.
“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. “I want to thank Representatives Napolitano and Katko for developing and introducing this important piece of legislation. Our pledge is to continue to work with Congress and the Administration to ensure all bus operators are given the protection they deserve.”
The legislation would 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 Calvin Studivant, SMART TD Bus Department Vice President. “This critical legislation will significantly improve bus driver safety through risk reduction programs and other safety requirements.”
In 2015 SMART TD supported passage of the FAST Act, which required that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issue rules designed to prevent assaults on transit workers, so far FTA has neither released nor implemented these rules. The Bus Operator and Pedestrian Protection Act continues to build on SMART TD’s efforts to protect bus drivers and eliminate operator assaults.
The SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members of the former United Transportation Union, who work in a variety of crafts in the transportation industry, including bus operators.
Recently, employees of the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway and Brega Transportation both voted for SMART TD representation.
Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway, LLC
Carmen, train and engine service, locomotive mechanics and maintenance of way personnel of the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway (BRG) all voted for SMART TD representation June 13. On June 14, 2017 The National Mediation Board certified that SMART has been duly designated and authorized to represent the carmen, train and engine service, locomotive mechanics and maintenance of way employees of Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway. “The employees faced many hurdles and constant pressure from the company to vote against organizing,” SMART TD Director of Organizing Rich Ross said. “They are a tight knit group that deserves the benefits that union membership can bring them.” BRG operates 45 miles of line at the Port of Brownsville, Texas, and interchanges with Union Pacific and KCSM. BRG traffic includes steel, agricultural products, food products and general commodities. The BRG commenced operations in 1984 when the Brownsville Navigation District (BND) reclaimed Port railroad operations from the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The BND, which manages the Port of Brownsville, entered a 30-year agreement with OmniTRAX to operate and expand the business development capabilities of the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway on its behalf in June of 2014. “I would like to thank SMART TD Organizer Larry Grutzius for all of his hard work on this campaign,” Ross said.
Bus Vice President Calvin Studivant reports that 120 bus operators and bus aides employed by Brega Transportation voted for SMART TD representation June 16. “I would like to thank SMART TD Director of Organizing Rich Ross for providing the necessary resources to make this a successful campaign. I would also like to thank New York State Legislative Director Sam Nasca and GCA VCN General Chairperson Thomas Bruce for their tireless effort in seeing this to fruition,” Studivant said. “There was a lot of pushback from the carrier, but SMART TD stayed on message and that effort reflected in the voting. We are looking forward to securing our new bus members a far and equitable collective bargaining agreement,” Studivant added. Brega Transport’s Yellow Bus division provides professional school bus service throughout Rockland County, N.Y.
SMART TD Bus Vice President Calvin Studivant reports that Roshonda McIntosh, 41, died March 16, and Ira Fitzgerald, 53, died March 17. Both members had been ill. McIntosh and Fitzgerald were both members of Local 1704 in Kansas City, Mo., and had been long-time bus operators for First Student, Inc. SMART TD wishes to express our condolences to the families, friends and members of Local 1704 during this difficult time.
Ira Joe Fitzgerald enjoyed working on cars, fishing and interacting with his family. He attended Vatterrott College in Kansas City, Mo., where he earned a degree in Electrical Engineering. When he was driving buses for First Student, Fitzgerald worked with different contractors as an electrical engineer. He is survived by his children, Joseph Terrell Henderson, Treneka Robinson, LaStarza Thomas, Donte Ridgeway and Illisha Fitzgerald; step mother Rose Dianne Fane; brothers James Martin, Johnny Fitzgerald, Lovell Martin, Anthony Fame, Michael Tate, Ira Carthell Hickman, Darrell Fane, Corey Fane and Edward Monte Shelby; sisters Patricia Hixon, Diane Stevens, Ileasia Handy, Tameka Fane, Lisa Jones, Margie Fane and Danea Fane; and grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. A celebration of life will be held Saturday, March 25, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. at New Greater Love Church, 1249 N. 12th St., Paducah, KY 42001. Click here to view the official obituary or to leave condolences for the family.
Visitation for Roshonda Monique McIntosh will be held Friday, March 24 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Highland Park Funeral Home and Crematory, 4101 State Ave., Kansas City, KS 66102. Funeral services will immediately follow visitation at 12:00 p.m. Click here to view the official obituary and to leave condolences.
Members of SMART Transportation Division Local 1715 in Charlotte, N.C., overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract, Friday, Sept. 9, reports Vice President Calvin Studivant. “I would like to thank General Chairperson (GCA TMD) Hasson Trent, Vice General Chairperson Brenda Moore, LCA TMD Secretary Ruby Crosby and Local President Bruce Wright for the long hours and hard work that they each put in to reaching this agreement,” Studivant said. Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) operators will enjoy more favorable work rules, paid travel time to the Tryon and Davidson garages and lower healthcare insurance deductibles. The contract also includes an increased pension cap and 7.5 percent in general wage increases with retroactive pay.
Managed by the Public Transit Department of the city of Charlotte, CATS is the largest transit system between Atlanta and Washington, with over 70 local, express and regional bus routes. The company also manages a light rail system, services for the disabled and vanpools.
Members of the SMART Transportation Division employed by Southeastern Pennsylvania Metropolitan Transportation Authority ratified Jan. 11 a 2.5-year agreement with the carrier.
The contract, which is retroactive to April 1, 2014, and extends until Nov. 18, 2016, covers bus operators, trolley operators and conductors and operators on the Norristown High Speed Line. They are members of Transportation Division Local 1594 at Upper Darby, Pa.
The deal affects more than 350 members and was ratified by 61 percent of eligible voters who participated in the balloting process, said Transportation Division Bus Vice President Calvin Studivant, who assisted with the negotiations.
Wage adjustments include a two-percent increase following ratification of the agreement and a three-percent increase effective Jan. 10, 2016.
A side letter to the agreement also calls for the authority to establish a “work zone committee” to address work safety issues as they pertain to the transportation department.
Studivant congratulates General Chairperson and Local President Waverly Harris, former Vice Local Chairperson Brian Caldwell, and Vice Local Chairpersons Curtis Fulmore, Dave Stinsman, Eric Goodwin and Anthony Petty for their arduous efforts in obtaining this agreement.
“A lot of hours were dedicated to finalizing this collective bargaining agreement. I commend the local officers for their diligence and preparation and the membership that participated in the ratification vote,” Studivant said.
SMART Transportation Division members employed by First Student, Inc., in Southeastern Pennsylvania have ratified a new three-year contract, retroactive to June 2014 The contract covers SMART members of Local 172 at Darby, Pa., working in school bus operations until June 30, 2017. Of the 92 votes cast, 55 were in favor of the agreement. Members will receive a three percent wage increase across the board for each year of the contract, for a total of nine percent. Driver’s rates of pay will be paid on all charter work and on all van runs with the addition of a meal allowance for charters. Also included in the contract is a provision increasing the number of allowable hours worked per week, up to 45. Management had previously discouraged employees from working more than 40 hours. If during the year, an operator’s run hours are reduced by 20 percent or more, that operator will have the option to bump another driver from service whose hours exceed 40. Also included in the contract is a provision that requires the company to immediately provide an employee with a debit card matching any payroll discrepancy of $50 or more. If a driver or monitor is displaced from a service run for any non-disciplinary reason, the driver will not suffer a loss in hourly pay. “I thank Local 172 Vice Chairperson Denise Hall, Secretary Kathleen Sitongia and Chairperson Theresa Costantini for their dedication and hard work on this agreement,” Bus Vice President Calvin Studivant said. Local 172 members chose the former United Transportation Union as their first collective bargaining representative approximately 10 years ago, when the property was unorganized.
SMART Transportation Division members employed by First Student, Inc., in Southeastern Pennsylvania have ratified a new three-year contract, retroactive to June 2014.
The contract covers SMART members of Local 172 at Darby, Pa., working in school bus operations until June 30, 2017. Of the 92 votes cast, 55 were in favor of the agreement.
Members will receive a three percent wage increase across the board for each year of the contract, for a total of nine percent. Driver’s rates of pay will be paid on all charter work and on all van runs with the addition of a meal allowance for charters.
Also provided in the contract is a provision increasing the number of allowable hours worked per week, up to 45. Management had previously discouraged employees from working more than 40 hours.
If during the year, an operator’s run hours are reduced by 20 percent or more, that operator will have the option to bump another driver from service whose hours exceed 40.
Also included in the contract is a provision that requires the company to immediately provide an employee with a debit card matching any payroll discrepancy of $50 or more. If a driver or monitor is displaced from a service run for any non-disciplinary reason, the driver will not suffer a loss in hourly pay.
“I thank Local 172 Vice Chairperson Denise Hall, Secretary Kathleen Sitongia and Chairperson Theresa Costantini for their dedication and hard work on this agreement,” Bus Vice President Calvin Studivant said.
Local 172 members chose the former United Transportation Union as their first collective bargaining representative approximately 10 years ago, when the property was unorganized.
In representation elections held May 15 on both bus and rail properties, the SMART Transportation Division came out on top, keeping the Organizing Department’s 2014 undefeated streak alive.
Yet another division of First Student bus operators has joined the SMART fold as Kansas City, Mo., school bus drivers overwhelmingly selected SMART over both the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union.
Of eligible voters, 107 selected SMART Transportation Division, 63 selected the Teamsters, 16 selected SEIU and just seven chose to vote for no union.
“This was a hard-fought campaign, but it was also a well-run campaign,” said Transportation Division Director of Organizing Rich Ross. “We won, and we won by a large majority because we spent a lot of time out there making our case. The operators wanted representation and chose the best bang for their buck.”
“We were out near the property every day at 4:30 a.m. to get our message across. The Teamsters came out in force with their parade truck, trying to block us from view, but the First Student operators found us.”
Ross lauded the efforts of Alternate Vice President-Bus Calvin Studivant and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority General Chairperson Waverly Harris (1594) and Vice Local Chairperson Brian Caldwell (1594). He also thanked CSX and Norfolk Southern new-hire class instructor Justin Humphries Local 1291 Chairperson Jacob Lane for their dedicated service throughout the campaign and Local 759 member Sheny M. Mendez for acting as an interpreter for the company’s Spanish-speaking employees.
In Western Michigan, the train and engine service workers employed by Marquette Rail also said “SMART” when they opted for union representation.
With the assistance of Vice President Jeremy Ferguson, Ross concluded another successful campaign in the Great Lakes State.
The Genesee & Wyoming-owned short line operates over approximately 126 miles of Michigan track, primarily on rail route extensions from CSX and Norfolk Southern near Grand Rapids northward to Ludington and Manistee.
Marquette transports chemicals, paperboard, grain, salt, petroleum products and other commodities. It also serves as a storage agent for fleet owners requiring accommodations for seasonally inactive or off-lease rolling stock. Capacity is in excess of 500 railcars.