GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Bus drivers who work for The Rapid bus service in Grand Rapids are making another call for better wages.
The battle started almost a year ago, after their union president said the they filed an unfair labor practice, which remains in court.
Most recently, the union rejected a settlement offer from The Rapid, on charges the company violated its bargaining agreement with the union.
“It really disheartens me, because we have some of the best and brightest and hardest-working drivers in this region,” said Melvin Turnbo, Local 836 President. “And for them to be asked to give up their current contract position and accept a 24-hour notice, is incomprehensible.”
According to Turnbo, the company also wanted to change their contract, forcing employees to give a 24-hour notice if they were to miss work. He said that is a big change, going from their current one-hour required notice.
“It takes away their ability to have emergencies,” said Turnbo. “To give them a 24-hour notice, and then the next morning they wake up, their child is sick, or their elderly parent needs some attention, and they’re asking us to forego that.”
Bus drivers are also asking for a pay increase. According to the union, the company extended a $3 wage increase to their technicians. However, when it comes to the drivers, they offered a $2 attendance incentive, on top of the 24-hour notice requirement — something employees said they weren’t too happy about.
“It’s only fair to offer the bus operators the same,” said Turnbo. “What they did was, they offered us a 3% wage increase, which calculates to 69 cents. They originally offered us $2 … Incentives are great, but it has to be accompanied by a wage increase. We couldn’t accept one without the other.”
News 8 reached out to The Rapid on multiple occasions Wednesday afternoon and didn’t hear back.