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Grand Rapids Bus Driver’s Union and Equity PAC trade words over November Transit Millage

October 12, 2017

On November 7, voters in the Greater Grand Rapids area can vote on whether or not to renew an operational millage for The Rapid bus system.

The issue has been a contentious one for more than a year, mostly because The Rapid board has failed to reach a negotiation with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 836. 

In recent months the issue has become more intense, with the ATU engaging in actions around the millage, most recently their confronting of Grand Rapids Mayor Bliss on Labor Day.

Since then, the Kent County Democrats have sided with the ATU to not support the millage, unless there is a contract agreement reached before the November 7 Millage vote. Some political candidates have also sided with the ATU in not endorsing the Millage, such as Robert Van Kirk who is running for the 77th State House seat and Rachel Hood who is running for the 76th House seat, although both want to see both of these things happen and are urging The Rapid and the ATUGR to find a just solution.

On October 9, Equity PAC formally endorsed the Transit Millage, with their entire statement at this link. Equity PAC does acknowledge that The Rapid and the union need to agree on a contract, but then it takes an ugly turn.

Equity PAC also strongly feels that it is important for The Rapid and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) to come together in agreement on a contract. The assurance of seniority and proper compensation is vitally important for those employed by The Rapid. However, it is more important above everything else that we support the interests of low income people, seniors and people with disabilities, and others in the need for this service.

“For too long we have allowed people to prosper, benefit and make money off the backs of minorities – and people in poverty in general. The latest move by the transit union, and its supporters to use the endorsement of the upcoming millage hostage until the ATU contract is negotiated is consistent with that unfortunate history. What is inconsistent is the amount of ‘allies’ who sit silent or agree to the tactic,” says Darel Ross, Equity PAC board member.

This statement from Equity PAC board member Darel Ross certainly got the attention of RiChard Jackson, who is the President of the ATUGR. Jackson released a statement today, which we reprint below.

There is less than a month before the November 7 vote. We will update readers on any new information in regards to a potential contract agreement and other positions on the Transit Millage.


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