September 23, 2014

Bus ops, rail prop vote SMART on same day

rich_ross_organizer

Rich Ross

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.