The news and information publication of
ATU Local 1005 Prepared and distributed by the Education Committee
The 1005 Line For The People Who Know Where They Are Going
November / December 2009
It's Contract Time Again! Here's What Members Need to Know… Alec Johnson, #66034 Nicollet
“Workers have a right to organize into unions and to bargain collectively with their employers, and . . . a strong, free labor movement is an invigorating and necessary part of our industrial society."
ATU 1005's existing contract, the document which legally binds our employer, Metro Transit, to uphold agreed-upon wages, hours and working conditions for our members, is due to expire July 31, 2010. The Executive Board took the initiative to begin the negotiation process early. Negotiations are set to begin in early January.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
What’s Inside... Officer’s Corner page 2 Union Meeting Highlights page 3 Transit Safety & Security page 5 "MARQ2" page 8 TIC - What It’s All About! page 10 Assaults on Drivers page 17 Watch Your Back page 18 Union-Made page 20 Kelly and Mike Craven Benefit/Raffle page 21 NorthStar Commuter Rail page 22 Obituaries page 27
The Executive Board has been meeting weekly to prepare our contract proposal package. In order to try to best represent the interests of the membership, members were asked to fill out contract surveys in September. Each survey was analyzed and, if necessary, reworded as a formal proposal. Together with proposals submitted by members and the union office, these are being used as a basis for this process. While the Executive Board will not be incorporating every proposal into our own final proposal to Metro Transit, the membership has the right to hear and discuss each and any proposal from the individual members. For this reason, all 295 were read at the October 27th membership meeting in Minneapolis. The Board presented their combined package of proposals to the membership at the November 24th meeting in St. Paul. Metro Transit management and ATU 1005 will exchange proposals at the end of December. From there, the negotiations will begin - and it's up to our Executive Board and our membership to be strong in solidarity as we fight to win the best contract possible. To get involved with your union's Contract Campaign, contact your union rep or an Education Committee member. Stay tuned for more updates. An involved membership makes a union stronger!
LOCAL 1005 OFFICERS
Michelle Sommers President/Business Agent
Dorothy Maki Recording Secretary/Asst. Business Agent
Dan Abramowicz Financial Secretary/Treasurer
Union Office 312 Central Ave. Suite 438 Mpls. MN. 612-379-2914 email: email@example.com website: www.atu1005.com
Education Committee Meeting11:00 am December 15th Executive Board & Union Meetings Dec 22 - Mpls. 10:00 AM / 7:00 PM
I would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season. As we enter into 2010, there are many challenges ahead. As you all know, our contract with Metro Transit expires July 31, 2010. We will be starting negotiations with Metro Transit the first week of January. We are working on a set schedule for the first six months of the year and hope to have an offer for the membership to vote on by July. We will post the dates of negotiations for the membership and keep you informed of any major issues that may come up. The Rochester City Lines contract expires December 31, 2010. The dates for negotiations in Rochester have not yet been set. We are also hoping to represent 21 mechanics at First Transit, and will be working on a first contract for that group as soon as possible. In addition, we've been dealing with policy changes that Metro Transit management has been implementing this year. After the very unfortunate incident this year when a bus operator drove drunk, Metro Transit management has been looking at the hiring standards and employment standards of its employees. We are now faced with a grievance that the union has presented to management about random background checks of operators and reporting of certain issues. We will keep the membership informed of the grievance progress. With the new hiring standards, prospective operators will have to meet higher standards, such as no DWI convictions in the last ten years instead of three years; and management has also added the high school diploma requirement back into the operator position for new hires. We have been told that a new cell-phone policy will be coming out soon. With all the accidents around the country, this has become a very hot issue. I believe there may be Federal Regulations that also come down in the next year. With that in mind, I would like to remind everyone that you need to remember that your job and safety are more important than talking or texting on a cell phone while driving. Please put the phone away and use it only at the layover. If a Federal law goes into effect at any time, we will all have to adjust to the change just as we have had to on the CDL laws. With the issues and challenges we all face everyday, I do hope that we can all have a great holiday season and a Happy New Year.
Union Meeting Highlights September 2009 President's Report President Sommers talked about her trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the 2010 AFL-CIO National Convention. The MSRS Board met last week while Pres. Sommers was in Pittsburgh, and Financial Secretary Tommy Bellfield attended in her absence. They are preparing their legislative agenda for 2010 and plan on addressing "salary spiking" (paid benefits). The Transportation Alliance and Transit for Livable Communities are also preparing their legislative agendas for 2010. They have several news conferences coming up. A labor/management task force between ATU Local 1005 and Metro Transit will be created to help put pressure on the legal system in an effort to urge various prosecutors to charge offenders to the furthest extent of the law with less plea bargaining. Healthcare premiums will be increasing by about 9.5% for 2010. The Met Council will be voting on whether or not the healthcare provider for the next three years will be HealthPartners. Contract proposals are due in the union office by September 25, 2009. The Contract Committee will start meeting on Oct. 15. Nominations will be conducted to elect a new executive board member for NorthStar Commuter Rail employees. Metro Transit will be increasing their background checks for future and existing employees. New Business Nominations for NorthStar Commuter Rail executive board member were conducted. The following members were nominated: Tom Mevissen, Will Fetterly, and Dave Butts, Jr.
October 2009 Before the meeting began, the membership agreed to allow speakers from the Minneapolis Regional Federation/Working Partnerships to speak on the upcoming elections on Nov. 3rd and the new Ranked Choice Voting system being used in Minneapolis for the first time. Members asked questions and were given forms explaining how the system works. Arbitration requests An FTH driver requested arbitration after being discharged for Falsification to a Manager's Inquiry, Failure to report an accident and overall record. After an explanation and discussion during which the driver appeared, secret ballots were cast. This case will not be going to arbitration. An FTH Operator requested arbitration after being discharged for a Violation of Operating Policy (Safety) and overall record. After an explanation and discussion during which the driver appeared, secret ballots were cast. This case will not be going to arbitration. Special orders of business Building Maintenance Wage Progression President Sommers explained that Metro Transit wants to change its Continued on Page 4
Education Committee Advisor Dorothy Maki Chair Melanie Benson South Liz Goldberg Vice Chair Heywood Office Ilona LaDouceur Rec. Secretary Nicollet Alec Johnson Ryan Timlin Twaya McIntosh Debbi Sievers Stephen Babcock Layout Overhaul Base Open Ruter Scott Lindquist East Metro Philip Jarosz Lisa Callahan Heywood Garage Open LRT Margo Trujillo 725 Bldg. Open Editorial Board Ken Dolney Mark Lawson Gary Bier
Page 4 Union Minutes Continued from page 3 wage progression for Building Maintenance mechanics (facilities maintenance technicians) in order to entice more people to that department. The new progression would only affect a few current employees. The Executive Board, however, recommended a "no" vote in order to avoid setting a precedent of changing wage progressions "on a whim" while under contract. A secret ballot vote was taken. This proposal was rejected by the membership. 2010 Reduced Service Days and Holidays President Sommers explained that the only difference in this proposal compared to previous years is that Metro Transit has agreed that "requests off without pay" will not affect recognition (OOA) requirements. A standing vote was taken, and the motion passed unanimously. Financial Secretary-Treasurer's Report The following members passed away since last month's meeting: Eugene Briggs, Retiree William Alfred Smith, Op. 9984 Members stood for a moment of silence in their memory. Obligations Lila Schirrmeister, Driver 68301, took the obligation. President's Report President Sommers commented on her recent trip to Washington, DC to request the support of the International ATU in our ongoing court case regarding Payroll employees. An agreement between AFSCME and ATU has been reached that any future ATU personnel moved from the Heywood Office building to Robert Street will remain represented by the ATU. (The agreement that the two Internationals reached has since fallen thru.) Pedestrian accidents took a sharp rise in October (five within a ten-day period) and Metro Transit is reacting. Members are encouraged to be more careful and more aware. Management and ATU 1005 will officially exchange proposals on December 21st. Negotiations will start in early January. At the November membership meeting, the Executive Board will present the contract proposals that will be presented to management, and the members will vote on them. Contract Committee meetings have started and will continue until we reach a package of proposals to present to the membership and the company. Metro Transit is planning on changes in its employment practices. Metro Transit will not hire anyone who has had a DWI within the past ten years and will require a high school diploma and an international background check. The company will be issuing the new policy on Friday, Oct. 30 with employees' paychecks. The union office will be filing a grievance. The NorthStar Commuter Rail ribbon-cutting ceremony will happen Friday, November 13 and service will begin Monday, November 16. Three unions represent NorthStar workers: the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE), the United Transportation Union (UTU) and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU). The city of Detroit is experiencing tough economic times. 140 transit workers have been laid off, and the mayor has cancelled fifty union contracts in that city. Paul Kiefner won his arbitration case, Denise Day lost her arbitration, and the Maintenance Clerk arbitration was settled. Vice-President's Report A committee was formed to examine the feasibility of creating a "hardship fund" for employees on discharge status awaiting arbitration. The meeting has been scheduled for Friday, October 30 at 10:00 a.m. New Business Dan Abramowicz read the contract proposals submitted by the membership, for information only.
Transit Safety/Security Committee (TSSC) October 2009 Members of the Committee Present: David Hanson, Management Advisor, Street Ops Allen Juaire / Diane Rude, East Metro Daisy Frantz, Committee Chair Stephen Leko, South Darel Hanson, Nicollet Christina House, LRT Others in attendance: Derrick Cain, LRT Emily Anleu, Recording Secretary Brenda Himrich, Safety Mike LaVine, Police Christy Bailly, Bus Ops David Larrabee, Risk Management Chuck Wurzinger, Maintenance Dorothy Maki, ATU CALL TO ORDER Daisy Frantz called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. in Chambers. REVIEW OF MINUTES August minutes were not reviewed. There was not a meeting in September due to the State Fair. VISITORS Tommy Bellfield - ATU Steve Mahowald Christine Kuennen - TCC Timothy Robinson-Leadership Academy-ATM South Garage Lee Bennett-Street Ops Christy Bailly-Acting Assistant Director of Transportation TCC REPORT Christine Kuennen in attendance: New TCC Supervisor David Suderstrom e xplained response times as it pertains to the time call was placed by operator to
the time call is answered by a TCC Supervisor. Suburban Transit Authority (STA) buses will have TransitMaster devices installed for real-time purposes. This will allow for TCC staff to dispatch EMS. OTHER REPORT Steve Mahowald in attendance: Presented the history of the Marq 2 Corridor Project Showed the training video regarding operations on the Marq 2 corridor. Fielded questions pertaining to the operation on the corridor. POLICE REPORT Mike LaVine in attendance: -Assaults down, arrests are up, thanks to detailed descriptions given by operators and better DVR equipment. Excellent clarity, and the numerous camera angles. -Clarified charges as it relates to spitting incidents pass vs operator. MAINTENANCE REPORT Chuck Wurzinger in attendance: The stanchion over the front wheel well on the Low floor discussed and possible solutions presented to be followed up upon as information becomes available. Slippery floors on low floor buses-appears to be an insulation issue, looking into retrofitting buses to mitigate issue. Rear Exit door-exploring technologies to accelerate the rear door operation. Fogged passenger window Issues on 40 ft buses-testing with experimental HVAC program to reduce fogging on passenger windows
Questions/Comments SAFETY REPORT Brenda Himrich in attendance: Bus Accidents per 100,000 miles were discussed Possible contagious pass situations / issues discussed. Customer Advocates called upon to advise. LRT Derrick Cain in attendance: Christina brought up some issues STREET OPERATIONS Lee Bennett in attendance: Presented draft SOP regarding bus operation Marquette and 2 Ave. S Presented information regarding two-way traffic conversion on various streets.
November 2009 Members of the Committee Present: David Hanson, Management Advisor, Street Ops Stephen Leko, South Darell Hanson , Acting Committee Chair Diane Rude, East Metro Pam Hamlow, MJR Others in attendance: Jim Chisholm & Dave Setterstrom, TCC Emily Anleu, Recording Secretary Mike LaVine, Police Michael McNamara, LRT Brian Willenbring, OJE (MJR) David Larrabee, Risk Management Chuck Wurzinger, Maintenance CALL TO ORDER Darell Hanson called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. in Chambers.
Ruter / MJR
REVIEW OF MINUTES July minutes were not reviewed. VISITORS Brian Willenbring, ATM Leadership Academy in training OTHER Three people out with H1N1
Scott Lindquist #6401 CHILI COOKOFF The 4th Annual MJR Chili Cookoff was held last month. The winner was Ann Williams who is making this contest her own with her third overall win. Gift cards were given out to the first three winners: 1st place - Ann Williams #2049; 2nd place - Joel Wagner #2101; and 3rd place - Jon Sheldon #67018. There were about 12 entries this year. The judges were brought in from the Heywood office, and the competition was fierce as always. Of course, afterward, everyone was given the chance to sample all the winning (and losing) chilis. Thanks to everyone who submitted entries, and also to those who donated money. This money goes to help keep our potlucks going and to pay for satellite TV. HOLIDAY POTLUCK Our next potluck will be in December. Our Thanksgiving/ Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus Potluck will feature a turkey dinner. The cost will be $4.00 for all you can eat. If anyone has a turkey they wish to donate, please talk to Scooter #2224. MJR has finally made it to the 21st century, with electronic locks on the doors. (Some are speculating whether we will soon have to tag the bay doors to be able to start work.) After long complaining about having the old coffee and snack machines we finally have gotten new ones. (Of course these donâ€™t work any better than the old.)
POLICE REPORT Mike LaVine in attendance: Legislative proposal to increase penalty for spitting on Transit Operators was reviewed. Captain LaVine wrote a proposal to have the charge for spitting on an operator increased to a Felony Interfere with Transit. That would mean if found guilty the person could face imprisonment for not more than three years or to payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both, if the violation was accompanied by force or violence or a communication of a threat of force or violence. This is a proposal only and needs to be approved by the General Council so that it can continue on the process of becoming a bill and then change the current legislation. This surfaced as a result of the number of spitting incidents and the number of operators who are asking why they can't charge them with more. 19 operators assaulted and they solved 14 of them with arrests, due to operator giving good descriptions of the suspects. 31 spitting incidents and 17 arrests Traffic changes in downtown were discussed. Three years since Diane Rude and her bus were hijacked. Captain LaVine would like to commend Diane Rude for her efforts in calming the hijacker down.
She was able to hit the silent alarm and the TCC heard everything and was able to dispatch the police. The suspect has finally pled guilty to the kidnapping charges. Diane and Captain LaVine would like to have the video from the incident as a training video for new drivers. TCC REPORT Jim Chisholm and David Setterstrom in attendance: - David Setterstrom is new TCC Sup. Due to the pedestrian accidents he would like to remind you to be careful -If we call or text, we are going to ask that you wait until you are in a safe location Working on minimizing the amount of text messages. Wait until you have a safe opportunity to pull over and then read the message. -NorthStar is starting the 14th. TCC will be working closely with the Northstar 3 or 4 new shuttle routes -Covert alarms were discussed Downgrade When in covert status, TCC can hear you so talk and tell them information if you can. SAFETY REPORT David Larrabee is attendance: Top Bus Occurrences YTD Collision w/ vehicle - 548 Collision w/object - 181 Collision w/ bus - 53 Collision w/ person - 17 Collision w/ bicycle - 10 Top 3 locations for accidents YTD FTH Garage - 24 Leamington Ramp - 11 Unknown - 11 RISK David Larrabee in attendance: No report.
Page 7 LRT Mike McNamara in attendance: No more platform shutdowns Only a few partial overnight shutdowns NorthStar and LRT were discussed. LRT operator communication was discussed. Operators are required to stop when they need to call in to update their track warrant, but they can be contacted without having to stop. LRT Operational Safety Committee meets a week before the TSSC meeting. -Management, operators, training and TSSC rep meet to discuss ideas. -Red Signal Overruns were discussed. -46th St Station traffic lights were discussed. LRT follows FRA rules for light procedures. Mike will have the signal department go down to watch the lights. SCADA keeps track of the LRT lights, but not the City of Minneapolis lights Don't try to beat the train. STREET OPERATIONS David Hanson in attendance: -MARQ2 was discussed. Train the trainers. We met at the IC and then we ran the course. A group of trainers and Steve McLaird went back to the IC and created an SOP Operating on MARQ2 is different then running DT Stop groups were discussed Break downs were discussed Please use caution Follow SOP Pamphlets are being created for the customers telling them how to follow the system and
what their responsibilities are. -TCC and Street sups will be responsible for incidents that occur on the NorthStar platforms MAINTENANCE REPORT Chuck Wurzinger in attendance: No smoking, eating/drinking or radios placards were discussed. Some of them are missing It is a distraction to the drivers Chuck will bring this issue up with Marketing and Transp. -In 2010 we will get 61 new 40 footers Had a meeting with Gillig No new telescoping steering wheel designs available at this time -29 articulated buses from New Flyer Have a meeting set up with them, so please send any questions to Chuck. -Due to pedestrian accidents they are looking into more lighting. Possibly installing a spotlight on the left light to light the area where the bus will be turning Will also alert pedestrians that something is coming their way -Timed delay for stairwell lights proposal in front of management. OTHER 10 hour runs and recovery time Run #8019 and #8131 Operators don't have time to get out of the seat. There aren't bathrooms in some of the areas. There is a contract regarding this situation. Operators should fill out the OCR's. Dave will pull some reports and research the OCR progress. -Customer Advocate issue will be discussed next month
Philip Jarosz, Dr. #65015 A number of new changes will enhance the way we do things here. One is that the 62 route detour is BACK TO NORMAL. Hurray! There is a new terminal opening up in the Arbor Point Area of Inver Grove Hts. for the 68G and 71M routes. In Minneapolis, we have mandatory training of 3 hours for the extra board drivers and those who pick routes 260, 270 due to the expanded traffic on Marquette and 2nd Avenues. There is special training for these new coach MCI buses. Training is for those picking work and those who work overtime ($$$) . Welcome to the new Safety Committee representative Diane Rude, who replaces Allen Juaire. Happy trails to you till we meet again, East Metro!
Disclaimer: Due to format changes, these columns are not exact replicas of TSSC minutes. The exact minutes are posted after each meeting at the operating garages.
Stephen Babcock Melanie Benson #854 Twaya McIntosh #9002 Debbi Sievers #64222 Alec Johnson #66034 Ryan Timlin #66279 There is a shortage of parking spaces in the Nicollet Garage parking lot. This is partly due to the fact that some employees are actually storing their cars in the lot. These cars should be removed immediately for the benefit of those who need the spaces when they arrive for work. Each vehicle should occupy one space. Correction: In the last issue of the newsletter, Deb Sievers’ badge number was incorrectly reported. Her correct badge number is IB000&0. (Deb, how do you lie those numbers? We will no longer report badge numbers! Just kidding.) Seriously, her number is 64222. Welcome to the new maintenance employees, Richard Ober # 69100 Chris Antholz # 69154
The “MARQ2” project involves Marquette and 2nd Avenue South, which have both been specifically reconstructed for an innovative new system for moving buses faster and more efficiently. Specific rules of the road and a unique key will allow 80% of all express buses to operate through the new corridor using a system of bus stops and bus routes organized by corresponding letter groups. It's both amazing and complex, compared to how we now operate. "MARQ2" The Marquette and 2nd Avenue Reconstruction Project Liz Goldberg, #1630 South Garage "ACCESS Minneapolis - A Ten Year Transportation Action Plan” was recently created by the city of Minneapolis in partnership with Metro Transit, the Met Council, Hennepin County and the Department of Transportation. It is meant to address a variety of transportation concerns and issues, including pedestrians, bicycles, transit, cars and freight. Six action plan components were developed to address these concerns: Downtown Action Plan; Citywide Action Plan; Street and Sidewalk Design; Streetcar Feasibility Study; Pedestrian Master Plan and the Bicycle Master Plan. The "MARQ2" project is the first of several projects under the "Downtown Action Plan" meant to transform and improve transportation within downtown Minneapolis. The project was funded as part of an Urban Partnership Agreement grant that included $32 million for the reconstruction of Marquette and 2nd Avenues. The United States Department of Transportation awarded $133 million to the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Council in 2007 to reduce congestion in the Twin Cities region. The newly-restructured and specifically-designed streets with side-byside bus-only lanes are expected to double (or more) the speed of buses through downtown. Additional improvements are: updated street designs; improved lighting; real time "Nextrip" electronic departure signs; larger improved bus shelters and wider sidewalks; more trees; landscaping, streetscaping and public art. Completed, the street will have two bus lanes and two traffic lanes, with both streets operating in the same direction they did previously. Most importantly, bus stops are every other block and organized into a letter system. Each route will serve the stops marked by its own specific letter. Stops A, B, C and D are on Marquette Avenue and stops E, F, G and H are on 2nd Avenue. Most blocks have two stops, and each stop accommodates two buses. Arriving buses will pull into the first available space to board customers, and customers will board through both doors. Buses will not load in the passing lane. Each stop has enhanced transit information specific to the routes that serve the stop, Nextrip displays the estimated departure time for buses that are approaching the stop based on their current position and can also be played by audio message at each stop.
Page 9 All providers operating the new corridor (including Metro Transit, Maple Grove Transit, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, Plymouth Metrolink, SouthWest Transit and BlueXpress) will guide operators through a rigid and thorough training program due to the unique and demanding new operating procedures in the new corridor. Beginning in November 2009, Metro Transit began an aggressive training program with use of the video "Rules of the Road" and on-street training. The new reconstruction design of Marquette and 2nd Avenues between 1st Street South and 12th Street South will handle almost 80% of all downtown express trips. Reconstruction began August 2008 and will continue into December 2009. The first phase of operations begins December 14, 2009, and the second phase will begin in March 2010, with Nicollet Mall buses moving onto MARQ2. When the project is completed, north-south express buses will be moved from the Nicollet Mall, 3rd Avenue South and other north-south streets to Marquette and 2nd. Nicollet Mall buses during rush hours will be reduced by about 35%. Bicyclists will be able to use Nicollet Mall 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. By the end of 2010, all buses operating on the Nicollet Mall will be hybrid electric and this will result in a quieter and cleaner mall environment for pedestrians, shoppers and diners. The removal of express buses from other streets will also help traffic flow better on those streets. Other project changes: 1. Conversion of Hennepin Avenue and 1st Avenue to two-way, completed in November of 2009. 2. Changes in bus operations and fares on Nicollet Mall in March 2010. 3. New pedestrian gateway between Nicollet Mall and the Convention Center. 4. Northstar Commuter Rail Service began November 16th. 5. Changes related to the new Twins Ballpark.
CRYPTO Each letter stands for another. If you think X=O, for example, it would equal O throughout the puzzle. Clue: P=D (Answer on page 27 ) Submitted by Pat Kelehan, Mech. #5470 A Z
P B P
P X P
C Y E
P F X C D
W M W C
K B M W
K X V
V A Y D W,
T P B H S W B
"M X N W"
Q Y F D H W C N K.
P X P C 'E Y C
Liz Goldberg #1630
Congratulations!! Jerry Olson Op #1504 for 36 amazing years of safe driving. Randy Finch #128 South Instructor for a glowing customer compliment posted in the 10/30/09 Insights. David Sanchez Op #67247 promoted to TIC Southsiders' Annual 2009 Chili Cook-off This Fabulously Exciting and Tasticously Yummy event is the highlight of the year at South. So, locate that lucky ladle, order those rare Neiman Marcus Peruvian chili beans and dig out your secret chili recipe. Date to be announced. The Game - Dominoes The clatter of tiles and contagious eruptions of laughter are the sounds at South in the driversâ€™ room these days. Everyone is playing Dominoes - itâ€™s fun, easy to learn and challenging all at the same time. Cornelious Sykes is the orchestrator of the "South Domino Tournaments." Rumor says another competition is looming ahead in the coming months? Stay tuned for more info. 2011 Cruise 8 days - Cozumel, Costa Rica and Panama. Revised /$566.00 inside stateroom/$856.00 Balcony/Air Extra, January 15, 2011. Questions: Lisa Benson 651-319-1603
TRANSIT INFORMATION CENTER WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT! by Ilona LaDouceur # 66048 I started in TIC on March 6, 2006 as a Transit Information Representative. I decided to put together a depiction of what we do, why and how. Since the TIC is the first place new and returning transit riders go to get information, I thought it would be interesting to tell others the importance and complexity of TIC. There's so much more to it than just telling a rider when and where to catch a bus. I hope the following article conveys this. I would like to thank all my coworkers in the TIC for their information and input. A special thank you to the following TIC reps who responded to my request for volunteers: Carol Hansen, Gary Bier, Cathy Taylor, Wendy Adams, Joshua Lee, Aisha Dancy and Jackie Crushshon. Thanks also to the Transit Information Center supervisors for their assistance, as well: Amy Gudmestad, Julie Timm, Gordon Paulsen & Ben Rajkowski. A special thank you to John Howley, Manager of TIC, for allowing me access and time to work on this project. FACTS AND STATS Supervisors Amy Gudmestad and Julie Timm provided the following information: TRANSIT INFORMATION CENTER (TIC) Although ridership has been down in 2009, the number of calls into TIC grows continually grows. TIC is located on the second floor of the Heywood Office Building. TIC hours: Monday - Friday 6:30AM TO 9:00PM, Sat/Sun/Holidays 8:00AM to 5:00PM (It is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.) TIC representatives answered over 1 million calls in the last four years. There are 37 full-time representatives, and one part- time rep. Amy Gudmestad is the lead supervisor. The other three supervisors are Julie Timm, Gordon Paulsen and Ben Rajkowski. Traci Williamson is the clerk floater.
TIC Rep Jackie Crushshon and TIC Supervisor Ben Rajkowski
SYSTEMS Automated Travel Information Systems (ATIS) software installed in December, 1999 Other programs/sites utilized are: Headways, Google, Google Maps, metrotransit.org Other Tools: Hudson Map Books, Jamesian Maps (discussed later) and other representatives' experience and knowledge. Mitel/priariefyre software for ACD phone systems The center receives approximately 4,500 calls per weekday and is Transit Wall Map - Used to plan trips averaging over 100,000 calls per month. before computers ATIS web application This is a modified version of the ATIS software and is on metrotransit.org. It was installed in July of 2000 and redesigned in March of 2001. This website trip planner planned 5.5 million itineraries in 2008.
Page 11 NexTrip IVR (Interactive Voice Response) The original BusLine was installed in 1991, and upgraded. The IVR system disseminates route and schedule information. Voice recognition and real-time information were added in July of 2008. This system answered 3.5 million calls in 2008 and operates 24/7. OTHER COMPONENTS OF TIC Schedule Display Lead Schedule Display Coordinator Scott Bergevin and Schedule Display Coordinator Colleen Nelson provide schedule information in 1,200 bus shelters and shopping malls. Schedule Distribution Lead Schedule Distribution Coordinator Tammy Kane prints and distributes 5 million schedules annually, and maintains stock at 800 bus schedule outlets. Information Technology (IT)
Training Room for new TIC Reps.
Art Brakob is the Business Systems Analyst. He is responsible for the upgrades and troubleshooting of ATIS, Transitline and our website's Trip Planner, Nextrip and more. One supervisor described him as our "computer guru." Calls and website stats August and September are generally our busiest times of the year, specifically because of the State Fair and the U of M. Other busy times recorded in the past were before and after the strike in 2004, and weather-related occurrences. Here are samples of our Top Five: Calls answered per day: 5,627 - 3/2/2004 - 2 days prior to strike 4,933 - 7/3/2009 - reduced service 4,925 - 8/31/2009 - Day 5 State Fair per month: 106,757 - August 2009 104,634 - July 2009 Highest number of planned trips on web: Day 34,332 - 9/2/2008 - Republican Convention 28,106 - 9/1/2008 - Republican Convention Month 579,569 - September 2008 Most calls answered on Transitline/NexTrip: Day 10,599 - 3/2/2007 - snowstorm Month 325,624 - December 2008
TIC Representative Wall of Fame, Quarterly employee winners over the years
In response to the question of what new changes may be in TIC's future, Amy Gudmestand responded that, at this time, our concern is just to continue progressing with today's technology, although someday we may look at possibly an on-line chat tool for our customers. New transit options have been added, with Northstar Rail commencing on November 16, 2009. This service provides transit from the Target Field station in downtown Minneapolis to Fridley, Coon Rapids-Riverdale, Anoka, Elk River and ends at Big Lake. There will also be feeder routes to and from these stations, as well as a commuter route between St. Cloud and Big Lake. December 12th will also mark the reopening of Marquette and 2nd Avenues in downtown Minneapolis. This is called the "Marq2". This project was done to make routes through downtown more efficient and timely.
Page 12 It will also eliminate many of the traffic problems, predominately during rush hours. These streets have been upgraded and will offer real-time information to our riders. Transit Information Representative skills and requirements The TIC representative is responsible for responding to inquiries from the general public regarding transit route and schedule information. We are to give the information in a clear and concise manner. It is important that we convey the most accurate and current information including changes and additions of service in the future, detours (current and future), bus stop locations, fare information, etc. A transit representative must have excellent customer service skills; the ability to adjust and adapt to each call; and good computer and map-reading skills. A transit representative must possess very good communication skills because we deal with every type of customer. We must be good at problem-solving and recognizing what information our customers are really looking for, because they may not know exactly what information they need; we need to dissect and evaluate the customer needs. Having good people skills is vital. We must be skillful at providing effective, accurate, courteous and professional information, sometimes in stressful situations. Other duties Other duties shared by some or all representatives are: mailings; updating map books; updating ebook information; proofing new schedules or changes in the schedules for upcoming picks; training and coaching; miscellaneous projects as needed. HISTORY OF TIC Getting information about the history of TIC (specifically when and where it began) has been difficult. One of our current representatives, Carol Hansen, has been able to provide information going back as far as 1976. Her story is forthcoming. Gary Bier was able to tell me about a representative by the name of Laverne Bernell, who retired in about 1985 after 35 years of service in TIC, dating back to about 1950. Any more information gathered on the beginnings of TIC will be in a future article. Gary Bier did shed some light on what it was like in the 1980's. There were no computers until the mid-80's, and calls were very time consuming. A single call could take an average of 10-20 minutes. The training process was also very different. It basically was a 10-week training class with most of the emphasis on memorizing routes and where they went through the downtown areas of Minneapolis and St Paul, and memorizing major shopping centers and transfer points. There was no coaching element. It was "sink or swim." Up until the early 90's, trainees received minimum wage during those 10 weeks, making a difficult situation even more stressful for the trainee. Here is Carol Hansen's story: Carol Hansen Rehired April 1998 My employment with Metro Transit began on April 6, 1998, although I had worked in the Transit Information Center previously from 1976 to 1985, at which time I left the department and moved out of state. I returned to Minneapolis in 1998 and was rehired. In the 1970's, the Transit Information Center was on the second floor of the old Nicollet Garage. Things were very different back then. There were no computers. All information was on paper. When a caller gave us an address, we would write it down on paper, go to a large map on the wall or use a Hudson's Street Guide to locate the address. Locating an address in that way could be difficult and time consuming, especially if more than one representative was using the wall map, so customers had much longer waits on hold than they do now. We worked out the time schedule using bus schedules and their time points, which were the only times we had.
Page 13 For example, if a person was waiting at 34th and Lyndale Ave N., we would give him the time the bus left 42nd and Lyndale N. - not as accurate as the system we now have. We were able to tell people where to transfer, but did not have the exact location of every bus stop. The near-side, far-side or mid-block information was not available. The information department was open until one o'clock in the morning and there were split shifts. If you were low in seniority, you would more than likely work four hours in the morning and return for four hours in the afternoon (which made for very long days). When I returned to TIC in 1998, the work environment was very different, but the basic job of delivering bus information to our customers was the same. The paper copies of the bus schedules had been put into a system which had a keyboard and a monitor and, even though we still used the large wall map and the Hudson's Street Guide to look up the addresses, we could now bring the schedules up on the screen instead of turning paper pages in the enormous book we had earlier. While going through my training period, I realized that (even though it had been almost 15 years since I worked with bus routes and schedules) some of the old information had stuck in my memory. This actually caused me a few problems, as I would remember the old route numbers from the 80's and had to relearn the new routes. It was a shock to me to see how far Metro Transit's service had spread. In my previous experience there was little to no service in the outlying suburbs. There was one bus to Apple Valley called the Zoo Bus because it went to the Minnesota Zoo. I was amazed to see that there was service in Plymouth, Eden Prairie, Burnsville, Apple Valley and many areas that did not have service before. Dial-a-Ride was also new to me. The other thing I noticed immediately was the change in our customers. The majority of calls back in the 70's and 80's were from English- speaking callers and not a very diverse group of people. Now we speak every day to people of many different cultures and nationalities, and many of them use English as a second language. The most difficult thing for me was the day John Howley introduced us to the computer! I was horrified! I had never used a computer in my life and was afraid I would never learn. But TIC was moving up and onward again and computers were installed at our work stations. Now our job has become so much easier. No more searching the face of the big map trying to find an address, ATIS does that part for us. No more reading paper bus schedules and trying to match up buses to make a good transfer. ATIS does that for us. The basic job of being a Transit Information Representative will always be the same: to help customers who call to understand how to get from point A to point B with as little difficulty as possible. Cathy Taylor Started August 2000 Cathy is one of the trainers as well as a coach. One of the qualities we admire most in Cathy is her calm and patient demeanor. She was one of my coaches along with Judy Koch, (who is our Pick Trainer as well.) . Both Cathy and Judy were instrumental in helping build my confidence to believe I could do this job. Here is what Cathy Taylor had to say: There are three trainers: Gary Bier, myself and Meredith Tvrdik. A new training class of three began on October 26, 2009. Trainers and supervisors conduct four weeks of classroom instruction. Highlights of basic instruction include: 1. Learning ATIS: what it can do and how to manipulate the best trip information for each individual caller. 2. Reading, interpreting maps and detours; communicating this information to the customer. 3. Navigating through our website and various links to better serve and help our callers. 4. Reading and understanding headways, timetables and schedules 5. Bus route knowledge: a) where is the service; b) when is the service; c) what is fare and d) who operates the service. 6. Develop active listening skills and build customer service skills to interpret and understand what the customer needs, not just what they are asking.
Page 14 After classroom training, passing the customer-free simulation tests and written tests, trainees are paired up with a coach for two to four weeks. Coaching is side by side, with the trainee taking live calls and applying what was learned in classroom. The coach, usually one of the trainers, assists as needed and gives feedback. A supervisor sits with the trainees to evaluate and determine when they are ready to "turn in" (able to take calls on their own). My favorite part of being a trainer/coach is the ability to see and observe the progress as the trainees use the learned standards and develop their own style within the standard. The new representatives learn to utilize the best resources to help each caller, building our potential ridership while maintaining our customer base through reliable professionalism, one call at a time. Joshua Lee Started August 2003 He was fairly new during the strike of 2004 and had told me about those times. He is outspoken, intellectual and very funny. In addition to being a TIC representative, he is also our backup Travel Agent. I had this to ask Josh: Josh, tell us what a Travel Agent does, and why. Take me through a typical "day in the life." Most of my Travel Agent work is done by invitation from the Transit Management Organizations. Usually we work during lunch hours at various companies, mostly during the Commuter Challenge season that goes from April to June. Other times we go to companies that introduce the Metro Pass or give presentations to companies in one of the downtowns. Commuter Challenge events are straight forward affairs - mostly getting folks to pledge to do something in their day without driving alone. The Metro Pass and relocation events are more involved. We help folks who haven't commuted to work using public transit. Relocation events tend to begin with a presentation with a Q & A to follow. A lot of them are catered. We look forward to those events. The State Fair is our Super Bowl. We have had the southwest corner of the Grandstand for a number of years. This event garners us regular visitors, from coworkers and regular riders to armchair service planners and folks who yell at public meetings. For the most part, it is a pleasure. In your opinion, what are important issues for our union to look at in the future of transit? To me, the most important issue for the union is keeping up with the cost of living with pay and benefits. I've always been confident they make that top priority. If the union wants to sponsor our broomball team this January, they know where I am. James Schlafer Started February of 1986 James is extremely knowledgeable in ATIS and is the first person I look for when I need help. He is also the inventor of the "Jamesian Maps." Tell us about the "Jamesian Map" …how they came about…how long they take from start to completion…how many there are. I've been making maps of confusing bus routes and complicated places since the late 1980's. The first ones were hand-drawn, then I progressed to hand-drawn ones with glued-on lettering that was printed on my home computer (it had a 120 Megabyte hard drive). With Microsoft Word drawing tools, I made some others while at the supervisors' desk computer, since our TIC system was not PC-based. When the Transit Information Center moved upstairs and was equipped with PCs with internet access, it opened a lot of new possibilities. Aerial photos, search engines, county records and GIS systems make it easier to gather information. My maps are still
Page 15 made in Word documents, using a set of macros that make drawing objects easy to create and manipulate. I finish a map by checking the mapped area in person, filling in all of the useful details. The entire process takes as little as a few hours or as long as several months of working in bits and pieces, between calls or whenever time allows. There are now 122 maps that I have made (plus several detour maps for recurring events), and I have about 35 more on which I'm still working. That's a lot of area to cover. Good thing that my wife has a Prius!
Aisha Dancy Started September 2004 I remember one day into my second week of training, I was standing at the bus stop after training/work that day and Aisha looked over at me and asked me how I was doing. I said something like, "Oh, okay." But I think the look on my face of exhaustion, stress and a little frustration said more than that to her because she looked at me and said something about, "It's a lot better when you get out of training". She was, of course, correct. These are the questions I had for Aisha: What do you like least about the job? Most about the job? What I like least about my job is how people don't want to give you the addresses of where they're coming from or going to. It's like they don't realize that you're just trying to help them and not trying to track them down. What I like most about my job is helping people get to places that they didn't think public transportation went to. I like to be able to tell someone that they can still visit their parents on Saturday even though their car is in the shop.
Page 16 What surprised you most about work in TIC? What surprises me most about the job is the volume of calls my department handles even though there are only about 32 of us. It makes me realize what a bunch of extraordinary people I work with - and I wouldn't trade them for the world. Wendy Adams Started July 2008 Wendy is from one of our most recent classes. I thought she would be a good person to talk to because, although a "newbie," she has excelled in this job and has recently been awarded our Quarterly Employee Award. As part of the second-most-recent class to come to TIC, you were first to turn in and have already received a Quarterly Employee Award. Congratulations!! Thank you. What in your background prepared you for this job? I have worked in retail/customer service since I was 15 yrs old, when I worked at a department store in Wisconsin. I moved here and worked out at the Mall of America at the Lego Store, then moved on to manage the store at Underwater World. Later on, I worked at American Express. That led to my most recent job at TCF Bank as a Lead in their call center. I worked at TCF for almost 4 Â˝ years, where I would take escalated calls that the Customer Service Reps couldn't resolve. What was most difficult/easiest to learn? I think detours are the hardest part of this job. Reading them, interpreting them, and applying them always seems to be a bit of a challenge. I love reading maps! In our house I am always the navigator, so that helped with the map portion of this job. What surprised you about this job? It's a lot harder than what I thought it would be. I thought, "How hard could it be, you enter the info in the computer and it spits out the trip." Boy was I wrong, it is so much more. Gary Bier Started November 1979 Gary Bier is not only the most senior of coworkers in TIC (30 years at Metro Transit, and 24 in TIC), but is also the lead trainer. He is our Union Representative. Gary was the person who got me interested in getting involved with the various committees and events with our union. Tell me how and why and how long you have been our union rep. I started with Metro Transit in November of 1979. I started as a union board member in late 2005, appointed by President Ron Lloyd when Kitty Hall stepped down from her post. After I finished Kitty's term, I found I really liked the work I was doing. I am now in my second full term as Executive Board member for the office. I took the position because I wanted to get more involved with our union and hopefully make it stronger by getting more members involved. After all, a union is only as strong as its members.
Assaults on Drivers A recent conversation with Metro Transit Police Captain Mike LaVine and a TCC supervisor covered a variety of topics relating to driver safety and security. Assault Statistics for 2009 As of early November, there had been 19 assaults on drivers involving physical contact. There were arrests in 14 of these cases. These arrests were possible through a combination of accurate drivers' descriptions of the suspects and prompt officer response. Videotapes recovered from the buses have backed up the arrests and assisted prosecutors in charging the suspects under Minnesota state law prohibiting "felony interference with public transit with force or violence." Once a suspect has been booked, charged, and bail has been set, most are free until their court appearance. Arresting officers are expected to place suspects on a "trespass" list to prevent them from riding public transit. Spitting Assaults - Proposed Change in Legislation Another type of assault that doesn't include direct physical contact occurs when a driver is spit on. There have been 31 documented spitting assaults so far this year, and there have been 17 arrests. These statistics are based on police reports, and assume that drivers are reporting this type of assault. These assaults are currently considered misdemeanors, simple assaults, and disorderly conduct. Metro Transit Police have drafted legislation to be introduced in the 2010 session of the Minnesota State Legislature to add spitting assaults into the statute concerning felony interference with transit. Even if a driver seeks medical attention and is "cleaned up" at a hospital, there's a potential threat of a number of communicable diseases if the assailant's bodily fluids come in contact with the driver's eyes, for example. Hepatitis, AIDS and tuberculosis can all be transmitted this way, causing an immediate and great fear of bodily harm. The Control Center, therefore, offers the opportunity to drivers who have been spit on above the neck to be taken off their work, transported by a district supervisor to receive medical attention, and to receive a Hepatitis C shot. They encourage drivers to file police reports, will send the police if requested, and offer peer support. Most spitting assaults have occurred in some type of fare dispute. Better training is being prepared for drivers, giving clear direction on how to handle fare collection. Driver Response Drivers, if assaulted on the job, are discouraged from pressing the 'covert' alarm unless they truly can't talk, because this alarm gives no information to the police or the Control Center other than location. Instead, drivers should use PRTT and give as accurate a description of the assailant as possible, including clothing, age, ethnicity, facial hair, jewelry, or some characteristic that stands out. Because most assaults are "hit and run," it is helpful if the driver can identify the exact location and the direction the assailant has gone. Courtesy card collection, if possible, can assist in obtaining witnesses. Injured drivers are taken off the line and transported to the hospital for treatment of cuts and bruises, sometimes involving stitches. Drivers are also reminded that they themselves can't commit crimes, either, in these types of confrontations. It's important for us to understand that, while there may be an explanation for why people act the way we do, this isn't the same thing as justification - either for the driver or the passenger. Driver Kidnapping Update WCCO reported on November 2: The man accused of hijacking a Metro Transit bus and attempting to kidnap its driver in November of 2006 has pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping. Paul Merrill Anderson boarded a bus that didn't have any other passengers on it, hit the driver and demanded she drive him several blocks, according to police. St. Paul Police said Anderson tied a bandana around the female bus driver's neck. She alerted authorities and after about 10 minutes, police squads stopped the bus near the intersection of 3rd Street and White Bear Avenue.
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Watch Your Back! Many studies over the past years have shown that city bus drivers have a higher incidence of a wide variety of physical problems and injuries than workers in other professions. Some of these are back injuries. City bus drivers face a myriad of conditions that can lead to back injuries, including stress, faulty equipment, too little layover time and bad roads. Most of these factors are not under a driver's control. There are, however, some things that can be done by individuals. - Each driver would be wise to invest in a "tush cush," a seat cushion designed to minimize the impact of miles of driving over uneven pavement. These cushions are available at most medical supply outlets, and in clinic stores. - When a driver prepares a bus before pull-out or makes relief on the line, all of the air should be bled out of the driver's seat before the height is adjusted to the proper level. This will also minimize the bouncing that can pound a driver's lower back and tailbone. - If the driver's seat needs to be adjusted each time the driver gets up to check the bus or adjust a mirror, or if the seat â€œbottoms out,â€? then the seat is defective and needs to be written up for repair. Drivers should request a bus change immediately. - Any injury from a driver's seat "bottoming out," back wrenching from driving over deep potholes, or other reason should be reported as an "Employee Report of Injury or Illness." This should be done as soon as possible, before the injury gets worse. -After this "Report of Injury" has been made, a driver should seek medical attention as soon as possible, while the symptoms are fresh. This can also prevent further injury and can get the driver some pain relief at the earliest opportunity. Employees of Metro Transit have the right to see the doctor of their choice. Once this doctor has treated the employee twice, this doctor is considered the doctor of record. Filling out a "Report of Injury" will start the workers' compensation process. The employee will receive a letter from the Metropolitan Council, and will also receive a brochure from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry detailing the rights and responsibilities of the employee. An employee can document the conditions leading to the injury by: - Identifying witnesses - Photographing the scene - Asking the Control Center to have a district supervisor check out the area where the injury occurred. This can also be done to prevent injury to oneself or others, by warning management of potentially dangerous conditions. It's helpful to document these communications by time and date. Union board members and/or officers can request tapes from the Control Center to verify these communications. In addition to calling the Transit Control Center, trying to work with Street Operations and getting the union to assist with these attempts, drivers can go one step further. They can try to determine who is responsible for certain hazardous driving conditions and communicate directly with them. In one recent case involving the approach road into the Veterans Home on the 23-line, (see picture), a driver researched who was responsible for the worst stretch of road with the deepest and most pervasive potholes. This driver then spoke directly with the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation employees responsible for that stretch of road, documented the conditions with photographs, and sent these photos to the Safety Supervisor at the garage level. Back injuries can be devastating, but with some early attempts at prevention, they can hopefully be minimized. We can also take personal responsibility for weight control and overall health.
It seems harder and harder these days to find union shops and union-made products. Maybe this will help: For a partial list of unionized metro area hotels, restaurants, bars, caterers and sports facilities, please vist www.uniteherelocal17.org. For example: The pizza purchased for our Minneapolis evening union meeting is from a union shop, Broadway Pizza, 2025 W. River Road, Minneapolis (612-529-7666). Jeans, as well as a clothing line of coats, polo-shirts, t-shirts and regular white t-shirts can be purchased from union shops. Local 1005 supplier for our union clothing is Max Anderson at Union House, 26796 Felton Ave, Wyoming MN 55092 . If you show Metro Transit ID and mention you found their name in The 1005 line, Max will give you 10% off. Their website is: www.unionlabel.com, phone: 651-462-7710 Another supplier of union-made clothing is Shelly at Advertising Incentives, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.advincentives.com. The printing shop we use for the 1005 newsletters, voting ballots, contracts, by-laws, is a union shop, Shafer and Feld Printing (Steve Weappa, 763-443-2490). Their website is: www.shaferandfeld.com.
Be mindful and supportive of union-made products and services in this recession. When you have a choiceâ€Śchoose UNION-MADE!! Also keep current on local union news, actions, and no-shopping lists.
"Raffle Benefit" for Kelly and Mike Craven ATU is family, and family takes care of family! Kelly Craven (FTH driver) and husband Mike Craven (MJR driver) are in dire need of our assistance. Kelly has been a part-time driver, a full-time driver and a TCC supervisor. Recently, through the Leadership Academy, she began on-the-job (OJE) training in the TIC. Only one week after completing her OJE in the Transit Information Center, she developed vertigo, causing dizzy spells and an inability to drive. Although vertigo usually lasts a short time, Kelly has a severe long-term case that may not go away. Kelly was out of work for months and now is attempting light duty out of Nicollet. Kelly's husband, Mike Craven, has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and test results will soon show what stage it's in. There's fear of what lies ahead. As if that weren't enough, their beloved dog has developed a blood disease; their car is in the shop, broken down with no funds to repair it (unable to transport Kelly the 40-mile commute to work), and they may be losing their home since Mike is not currently well enough to drive and Kelly is down to part-time light-duty work. You may be thinking, "Wow, how horrible! I wish there were something I could do to help." THERE IS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP! Ilona LaDouceur (TIC) and Meredith Tvrdik (TIC) are organizing a raffle benefit which will take place December 1-15. Tickets will be sold in the Heywood office lunchroom at all times for those 15 days for $5 a ticket. There will be 15+ prizes awarded, including but not limited to: A 1.5 hour massage with Aveda products; a "football package" which comes with a $50 pizza gift card; a $25 grocery certificate and a surprise $25 certificate; three hand-crocheted afghans, a Victorias Secret gift package, a Dunn Bros Gift Package and much more! The drawing will take place at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, December 18th. You need not be present to win. Meredith commented, "I would hope someone would do the same for me, wouldn't you?" Please help the Craven family and pick up your raffle tickets in early December! Thank you! For further information you can contact Ilona LaDouceur at email: email@example.com, phone: 612-600-2771.
Metro Transit Introduces New Ice Scraper In November this year, the old wooden-handled scrapers that used to be on each bus were replaced by new, large hefty plastic scraper/brushes that presumably will be an improvement. The old scrapers, which used to be on the buses, were meant for scraping ice and snow off of the front steps to prevent passenger falls. Drivers could also use them to chip away encrusted ice and snow from around the rear door, should that door get hung up on a snow bank, preventing movement of the bus. In a pinch, they could also be used to remove snow from in front of the rear tire when the bus was stuck. Only time and experience will tell if this new tool will be able to accomplish the same results. It would be interesting to know what happened to the old scrapers, and how many drivers actually kept them near as defensive weapons. (The new ones look a little intimidating, too.)
NorthStar Commuter Rail Facts After more than a decade of planning and $317 million, NorthStar began service between downtown Minneapolis and Big Lake, Minnesota on November 16th. There are approximately 140 seats per train car (maximum 330 standing). There are wheelchair-accessible bathrooms on each car. There are work tables and electrical outlets for people who wish to work on laptops, and storage space for baggage.
Dave Brown was the engineer that took us for a smooth 79 mph ride (the top speed)!!!
There are six stations. To downtown Minneapolis, the fare from Big Lake is $7 (one way), $5 from Elk River, $4 from Anoka and Coon Rapids and $3.25 from Fridley. There are five locomotives and 17 passenger cars. Locomotives get 0.5
The Riverdale Park and Ride has been transformed into a beautiful but functional transit facility.
Parker McDonald, the artist chosen for the Big Lake Transit Station, put some finishing touches on his metal sculptures.
All train cars are fully ADA compliant. Pat Wandersee and Dale Hanson (two of the Conductors) practiced the lift at the Riverdale Park and Ride. Financial Secretary Tommy Bellfield and stockkeeper Dave Butts enjoy the ride!
Page 23 mpg.
Additional Facts The length of the line is 40 miles. It has a $16.8 million annual operating subsidy. The expected daily ridership is 3,400, with a projected 4,100 by 2030. The train never physically turns around. Locomotive controls are at each end of the train. The locomotives are refueled each night from a delivery truck. A train takes 1/4 of a mile to stop.
At the new Fridley Station, the 'Spiker' was observed placing spikes in the tie plates. It drives them into the wooden ties with a force that makes the metal spike smoke! The Fridley Station has parking on both sides of the track and an underground traffic tunnel.
The doors are open for 45 seconds for the passengers to get off or on. There is a button to extend Congratulations to Tom Mevissen, new executive board member elected November 4th to represent members at the NorthStar Commuter Rail facility.
At Heywood Garage, Paul Swanson, #9857, Retires after Eleven Years
Paul loved to play cards during his call time. He was presented with a cake and a new deck of playing cards by Assistant Manager Linda Bechtold
ATU 1005 Vice-President Dorothy Maki presented Paul with a union jacket.
Retirements Congratulations to September Retirees 09/03/09 George Folea, OHB Mech. 5317 09/04/09 William Smith, FTH Bus Op. 9984 09/05/09 Lorolei Struss, FTH Bus Op. 9865 09/08/09 Daniel Jackson, EM Bus Op. 3012 09/19/09 Donald Greeman, EM Bus Op. 3226 Congratulations to October Retirees 10/01/09 Stephen Komar, LRT Op. 809 10/13/09 Daniel Hilden, OHB Mech. 1621 10/20/09 Martin Berde, So. Bus Op. Retired 7006 10/31/09 Paul Swanson, FTH Bus Op. 09857
Congratulations to Employees Celebrating Anniversaries
October 2009 Five years 07/12/04 Nha Vang Khang, 2415 Ten years 10/23/99 Vue Lo, 5892 10/23/99 William Stanton, 6999 10/23/99 Dale Tetzlaff, 6997 10/02/99 Shane Farsund, 6982 10/02/99 Bernard Cotter, 6985 10/25/99 Michael Manion, 7902 10/11/99 Terry Zeimet, 6992 10/04/99 Mark Lawson, 6986 10/11/99 Latchman Bhagwandin, 6990 Fifteen years 10/10/94 Steven Howe, 6485 10/10/94 Gloria Westphall, 6486 10/29/94 Sammie Austin, 6497 10/10/94 William Ritenour, 6483 Twenty-five years 10/22/84 Mary McEnaney, 1684 10/22/84 Charles Borden, 1685 10/22/84 Richard Wegner, 1693 10/22/84 Thomas Egan, 1688 10/08/84 Karin Warren, 3310 10/29/84 Peter Moore, 1700 10/29/84 Wayne Eastman, 1766 10/31/84 Patrick Leach, 3311 Thirty-five years 10/07/74 James Hannon, 2721
10/03/74 Donald Schmidt, 5162 10/21/74 Gary Dahlberg, 500 10/21/74 David Lunderborg, 507
November 2009 Five years 11/13/04 Chowly Lee, 64419 11/22/04 Allan Cox, 64430 11/13/04 Darrell Evans, 64424 11/13/04 David Barnhart, 64423 11/08/04 Scott Miller, 64412 11/13/04 Todd Eddy, 64421 11/13/04 Solomon Molla, 64429 Ten years 11/15/99 Bradley Seim, 7912 11/08/99 Melinda Frank, 7906 11/13/99 Gary Weizenegger, 7907 11/13/99 Christopher Steele, 7908 11/29/99 Alan Thao, 3650 11/29/99 Steven Phillips, 7913 Fifteen years 11/07/94 Vernon Hutchinson, 7400 11/21/94 David Williams, 7406 11/07/94 George Schwartz, 7402 Twenty years 11/06/89 Kenneth Turchin, 3423 11/06/89 Jeffrey Kellner, 3422 Twenty-five years 11/26/84 John Bergman, 2572 11/26/84 James Underwood, 2574 11/12/84 Dale Brodal, 2081 11/12/84 Mark Kitzerow, 2520 11/05/84 Richard Pratschner, 1793 11/12/84 Curtis Botner, 2089 11/05/84 Bruce Biddick, 2025 11/26/84 Jeffrey Miller, 2556 11/19/84 Sharyn Basso, 2526 11/26/84 John Carrier, 2577 Thirty years 11/07/79 Garfield Martichuski, 1207 11/13/79 Robert Knoblauch, 1231 11/26/79 Gary Bier, 3062 11/01/79 Michael Seiberlich, 5442 Thirty-five years 11/12/74 David Pechler, 2767
Page 25 11/14/74 Jeffery Gauthier, 3052 11/11/74 Frank Hernandez, 3427
December 2009 Five years 12/06/04 Gregory Marshall, 64437 12/06/04 Harold Lindsay, 64431 12/06/04 Lance Wallace, 64434 12/06/04 Sarah Pollard, 64436 12/27/04 Donna Nieman, 64445
12/03/84 12/17/84 12/03/84 12/26/84 12/10/84
Greg McLaren, 5269 Jerome Mirelez, 2644 Gary Coleman, 5311 Thomas John Loughran, 5327 John Marroquin, 2612
Fifteen years 12/10/94 Reaneah Miller, 7408 12/10/94 Don Madison, 7410
Thirty years 12/26/79 Gordon Courneya, 5452 12/03/79 Larry Brady, 1263 12/11/79 Frederick Snelson, 5449 12/07/79 Robert Bierwerth, 5447 12/03/79 Ronald Fontaine, 1268 12/10/79 Ann Marie Deneen, 1274 12/24/79 Ramona Shafer, 3193
Twenty-five years 12/10/84 Thomas Durand, 2614
Thiry-five years 12/11/74 Robert Graham, 5253
In Memoriam William 'Al' Smith William, FTH #9984, drove for ten years.. He started part-time in April of 1999, went full-time in 2000 and left service in September of 2009.
Eugene Briggs Eugene, age 81, of Hopkins, is survived by soulmate and loving wife, Barbara; loyal feline companion, Zoey; and other relatives and friends. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to The Lupus Foundation, The Atrium, Suite #135, 2626 E. 82nd St., Bloomington 55425.
Kenneth Parent # 2578 Ken, age 63, of Circle Pines, passed away surrounded by his family on November 17, 2009. He was preceeded in death by his father, Leonard. Ken is survived by loving wife, Jeanne; children, Jeffery, Tina, Jennifer (Jeremiah) Bornes, Joe (Rachael); grandchildren, Brittany, Caleb, Braxton, Mariah; mother, Alice; siblings, John (Kinuko), Virginia (Bernard) Drutchmann, robert (Charlotte), Ronald (Dian); and many loving family members and friends. Ken, #2578, had retired on February 9, 2007 with 35 years of service. His father, Leonard Parent, had been a driver before him. Ken's brother John Parent worked in maintenance at East Metro. His brother Ron, #2573, retired July 9, 2009. Ron's wife Dian Parent, #2816, had been an instructor and then worked in the Safety Department.
Assaults continued from page 17
Police were eventually able to stop the bus and arrest Anderson. His sentencing is set for Dec. 10.
Captain LaVine gave a lot of credit to Diane Rude, the driver involved in this incident: Her calmness at the time of the assault led to her assailant's apprehension; she followed through in the court system in the "long and arduous" three years since the assault; and her presence at all of the hearings prevented decisions on Anderson's case from being made in a vacuum. Diane insisted that Anderson be held accountable for his actions, and wanted to set a precedent to make sure this didn't happen again. Captain LaVine said Diane was "great," and Diane has always been grateful for the support she has gotten from the Metro Transit Police, especially Captain LaVine.
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"Let's all do our best..." After all, a picture's worth a thousand words, right? The companyâ€™s new campaign to educated the public towards operators attitudes is being displayed on the outside of our buses. It is a reminder that we should do our best to be compassionate with our coworkers and our passengers during this holiday season.
A Blast from the Past January 4 1949 streetcar at Christmas
Pictured: A westbound streetcar on East Seventh Street between Cedar Street and Wabasha during a post Christmas storm. This picture is from the Minnesota Historical Society Visual Resource Database (Photographs, Art, Posters,Fine Art photographs) Website: http://collections.mnhs.org/visualresources/search.cfm?bhcp=1 Winter is coming, be mentally prepared!
May Peace, Joy, Hope and Happiness be yours during this Holiday Season and throughout the New Year Pictured: Front row: Ilona LaDouceur, Melanie Benson, Philip Jarosz Back row: Twaya McIntosh, Dorothy Maki, Deb Sievers, Alec Johnson, Stephen Babcock Not pictured: Scott Lindquist, Lisa Callahan, Lizbeth Goldberg, Ryan Timlin, Margo Trujillo
Answer To CRYPTO: MY DAD DID NOT SMOKE, DRINK OR GAMBLE. HE DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A "VICE" ON HIS WORKBENCH.
Warmest thoughts and Best Wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year from the ATU Local 1005 Executive Board
Back row, left to right: Russell Dixon, Sr. (FTH Drivers and Dispatchers); Dave Rogers (LRT Operators and Dispatchers); Dave Gosha (Rochester Lines); Brian Laroue (Overhaul Base Maintenance); John Zapata (Nicollet Maintenance); Greg Stowe (FTH Maintenance); Mark Lawson (South Drivers and Dispatchers) Middle row, left to right: Dave Hopwood, (MJR Maintenance); Cliff Bolden (Nicollet Drivers and Dispatchers); Ken Dolney (East Metro Drivers and Dispatchers); Clarence Maloney (LRT Maintenance); Tim Dixon (South Maintenance); Chuck Feucht (East Metro Maintenance) Front row, left to right: Gary Bier (FTH Office and Clerical), Tommy Bellfield (ATU 1005 Financial Secretary/Treasurer); Dorothy Maki (ATU 1005 Vice-President); Michelle Sommers (ATU 1005 President/Business Agent); Dan Abramowicz (ATU 1005 Recording Secretary/Assistant Business Agent) Not pictured: Maria Hennes-Staples, Tom Mevissen
DRUG TESTING RIGHTS If you do not use the specific wording when you request results from a positive drug test, the agency has no obligation to comply. All they are required to do is give you a paper stating the results are positive. Every employee has the legal right to request, in writing to the Medical Review Officiers (MRO), copies of: the Litigation Package* of the initial test. (this will tell you how your test turned up positive); the Confirmation (breaks results down into specific levels); the Threshold levels (baseline of all tests) The Litigation Package can be nearly 100 pages of technical data, which cannot be analzed or understood by a layperson, including union officers. Professional interpetation is available at memberâ€™s expense, starting at about $50 minimum.
WEINGARTEN RIGHTS STATEMENT If disciplinary action is suspected, read this statement to your foreman: I request to have a union representative present on my behalf during this meeting because I believe it may lead to disciplinary action taken against me. If I am denied my right to have a union representative present, I will refuse to answer accusational questions and any I believe may lead to discipline.
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