Forest River to Shut Down Imlay City, MI plant/Bus Shortage to Continue

As part of a restructuring of national operations, brought on by the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, Forest River Manufacturing has announced the closure of several plants around the country including the operations in Imlay City, MI.  Employees have been offered positions in their central operation facility at Elkhart, IN.  In addition, Forest River has announced they are receiving orders for new bus vehicles at the rate of about 1000/month and, due to the continuing chip shortage issue that is affecting all vehicle manufacturers, they are currently receiving less than 100 chassis/month.  Further, Forest River has announced the discontinuation of the El Dorado composite bus and current Michigan orders through supplier Hoekstra in Grand Rapids will be converted to the Champion box-style construction which will be continued.Michigan transit agencies should contact their MDOT Project Manager for additional information and updates on this situation.

MTA-Flint re-dedicates downtown Transfer Center in honor of long-time board members

On Sept 12, 2021, MTA hosted an unveiling at 615 Harrison St for the family and friends of two former board members.  John Northrup and Richard Abrams served a combined total of 62 years on the Mass Transportation Authority Board of Directors, and they were true pioneers in supporting the development of public transportation throughout our community.  In recognition of their outstanding contributions, the MTA staff and Board of Directors enthusiastically supported naming the downtown transportation center after them.  The MTA Northrup-Abrams Transportation Center will serve to remind others of the impact citizens can have when they volunteer their time to support local organizations.“It was an honor to work closely with these fine individuals and it was such a joy to share this dedication with two great families.  We welcome everyone to come into the transfer center and see the well-deserved plaques of recognition” said MTA’s General Manager Ed Benning.

New Director Named for SMART in Southeast Michigan

Dwight Ferrell photo

SMART, the Southeast Michigan Authority for Regional Transportation, has named a new leader as CEO. He is Dwight Ferrell, who previously served as head of the Cincinnati Metro transit system. Ferrell will begin his duties in September. Robert Cramer, SMART's interim leader as SMART's deputy general manager, will continue to remain in his position. Cramer took over as Interim head of SMART after the board let former longtime head John Hertel in March 2020.      

The Rapid Board of Directors and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 836 Reach Agreement

Collective bargaining agreement for bus operators and maintenance employees is approved

The Rapid’s Board of Directors voted to approve a new three-year contract that will be effective from June 10, 2021, through June 9, 2024. This round of contract negotiations started in November 2020 with a tentative agreement reached on April 12 that was eventually ratified by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 836 (ATU) on April 18.

The previous agreement was extended for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The approved agreement includes increases for wages and retirement benefits over the next three years.

“We’re extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with the ATU that sets the agency up for success and provides stability for our workforce for the next three years,” said Steve Schipper, COO at The Rapid. “Both sides negotiated in good faith under difficult circumstances created by the pandemic, and this agreement is a great reminder that we’re all on the same team working to provide critical infrastructure and service to our community.”

Throughout the pandemic, service levels and safety regulations have been adjusted due to changing
guidance and conditions in the community, but transit service continued to operate without interruption in order to support essential services and community needs.

“I am very proud of the leadership on both sides of the negotiating table,” said Deb Prato, CEO of The Rapid. “In true transit spirit, during an incredibly difficult year, The Rapid and ATU 836 came together negotiating a contract that keeps our community on the move; efficiently, reliably and safely.”

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