By Bonnie Morr
Vice President, Bus Department
As we approach year end, I wish everyone happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year.
During 2012, we have had wonderful success negotiating 11 new contracts, and others are in the negotiating process.
I could not be more proud of the negotiating and educational skills demonstrated by general chairpersons who protected our members, and efforts of our alternate vice presidents who assisted in some of the negotiations.
As we prepare for 2013, we face seven agreements due to expire next year.
Also during 2012, we organized several new properties, and look forward to organizing more bus properties in 2013.
Also on the positive side, public transit ridership has risen substantially as gasoline prices have increased. Agencies nationwide are planning for even more riders in 2013, which will mean more public transit jobs.
Our National Legislative Office, with assistance from state legislative directors, will be working to educate lawmakers at the national, state and local levels to obtain necessary funding for new equipment and routes.
Many localities already are tackling the challenge of finding new sources of public transit revenue in their communities. We can also count on MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century), which passed Congress in 2012 and was signed into law by President Obama. That law provided a new two-year federal funding stream for mass transit and means more jobs.
As we move forward in 2013 under the new banner of SMART, we will benefit by having a stronger voice in Congress and access to the SMWIA’s numerous training facilities throughout the United States.
As you plan for 2013, keep in mind our regional meetings (July 1-3 in Boston; July 29-31 in Anaheim, Calif.) that will feature improved workshops for local officers and members seeking to improve negotiating, organizing and grievance skills.