By Richard Deiser
Vice President, Bus Department
Kudos to Alternate Bus Vice President-East Calvin Studivant and Alternate Bus Vice President-West Bonnie Morr for being chosen as delegates to the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh, where a highlight was President Obama’s speech that may be viewed on the UTU Web site at www.utu.org.
Calvin reports that he shook the president’s hand!
Congratulations also to UTU International President Mike Futhey on his election as an AFL-CIO vice president and his appointment to the federation’s Executive Council.
Several bus locals have been involved in contract negotiations, and the trend is towards shorter agreements in the hope that the economy will improve in the near future.
If that becomes reality, we will be able to negotiate wages and benefits from a far stronger position than in the current recession.
General Chairperson James Williams (Local 1564, Los Angeles) reports his members have ratified a new one-year agreement with the LACMTA after hard work and patience of all the committee members.
General Chairperson Nelson Manzano (Local 710, Elizabeth, N.J.; One Bus) praised the work done by Vice General Chairpersons James Powell and Jose Rivera in reaching a one-year agreement with Coach USA, holding the cost-sharing for health care.
Local 1558 in Westwood, N.J., (Rockland Coaches) reached a similar accord under the direction of General Chairperson Keith Mack, assisted by Mike Byrne, Helaine Parsons, Ed Pollard, Bob Panarotti and Abe Tsay.
Calvin Studivant’s Local 759 in Paramus, N.J., (Community Transit) won an important arbitration, which resulted in an employee being restored to work status with full back pay and benefits.
Also, General Chairperson Bill Koehn (Local 1670, Laredo, Texas; Laredo Metro) is keeping a watchful eye on bus inspections at the Mexican border.
The U.S. DOT has significantly reduced the number of buses inspected, leading to worries about safety, operator fatigue and equipment maintenance on these bus lines that operate far into the U.S. American companies cannot compete effectively when confronted by cheap labor, shoddy maintenance and falsified driver logs.