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Rapid operators picket outside of Central Station

Around two dozen operators for The Rapid were outside of Central Station Wednesday evening, hoping to bring management to the bargaining table.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Drivers from The Rapid in Grand Rapids picketed outside Central Station on Grandville Avenue Wednesday. They're upset about how they say administrators are treating them. 

The President/Business Agent of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 836 said in October of 2022, technicians with The Rapid received a wage increase, while bus operators did not. However, the local union president said bus operators were offered an "attendance incentive increase" by The Rapid, but that was rejected. 

That president, Melvin Turnbo, said they just want to bring The Rapid to the bargaining table. 

"Negotiate a fair wage increase for our bus operators. We deserve it, we're out here moving this city from morning until night. We're here. We deserve this opportunity to have our wages increased as well," he said.

13 On Your Side did reach out to the Rapid. They sent a statement reading:

"The ATU leadership has not discussed their rally today, or the reasons for the rally with the leadership team of The Rapid. The Rapid and ATU have regular labor/management meetings, as well as regular safety committee meetings. Each of those meetings was held within the last 5 business days and the ATU did not raise any specific issues related to their safety or mistreatment.

The Rapid can confirm we have two pending Unfair Labor Practices scheduled to be administratively adjudicated by the Michigan Employee Relations Commission (MERC). One charge pertains to a wage increase promulgated by The Rapid, which was based on a market analysis after it was determined that wages more than those provided for in the union contract were needed to attract and retain our skilled technical trade positions. The second Unfair Labor Practice is a dispute related to the union’s efforts to use a non-employee to maintain their union bulletin boards on our premises, which breaches our standard security protocols. The Rapid denies any unfair labor practices occurred in either instance."

Turnbo also cited that city bus operators have had to deal with dangerous and violent situations, they would like to see management improve safety.


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