Big Blue Bus (BBB) operator and SMART TD member Rochelle Beamon (Local 1785) has been honored by Santa Monica, California’s city manager with the city’s “Elaine” award. Beamon has been labeled a hero after she managed to miss hitting a man on an electric scooter who swerved into her lane.
“I saw him, looked left and felt very grateful that it turned out the way it did. It feels great to know that I saved someone’s life,” Beamon said when she received the award.
Each week, City Manager Rick Cole honors someone with an “Elaine” award to a city employee who exemplifies the city’s commitment to excellent service.
SMART TD congratulates Beamon on her excellent driving skills and on a job well done.
Click here to read more from the Santa Monica Daily Press.

SMART TD represents bus operators who work for BBB in Santa Monica, Calif. BBB service area spans more than 58 square miles of greater Los Angeles and its buses provide over 16.5 million rides for customers each year.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – UTU members employed by Santa Monica Regional Bus Lines (UTU Local 1785) have ratified a new three-year contract by a three-to-one margin.

The contract, which expires June 30, 2014, includes pay raises, maintains and improves work rules, retains full-coverage health care insurance, and provides that discipline for using cell phones on duty must be verified on camera or witnessed by two or more independent sources. (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cell-phone ban affects only drivers in interstate commerce.)

Adhi Reddy

UTU International Vice President Vic Baffoni, who assisted in negotiations, praised the efforts of General Chairperson Adhi Reddy and Local 1785 officers Moses Avila and Martin Guerrero.

By Vic Baffoni
Vice President, Bus Department

I recently spoke with UTU Local 1785 (Santa Monica, Calif.) member William Alvarenga, who has driven a motor coach for more than 30 years and who has been commended for his safe and courteous driving record.

I asked Brother Alvarenga his recipe for success. “Put safety first and schedule second,” he said. “I treat passengers like I want to be treated, and I never, never let anything upset me while working.”


UTU bus members are the most dedicated and safe drivers in the country. They carry men and women to work, medical appointments, grocery stores and recreational outings. They also transport the most precious of cargos – children — to and from school.

Wise words. If we all strive to live by Brother Alvarenga’s simple rules, we will all succeed.

Not all is tranquil on our properties, however.

At many of our locations, we are experiencing an increase in disciplinary actions. Charges are being filed and harsher discipline is being assessed, along with more strict enforcement of work rules.

We have seen this before prior to and during contract negotiations.

Our remedy more strict enforcement of our contracts by our officers, and education of our members as to their rights under our contracts.

Your Weingarden Rights are very important. They take their name from a 1975 U.S. Supreme Court case (NLRB v. Weingarten) where the Court ruled that unionized employees possess a right to have a union representative present during investigatory interviews when a supervisor questions an employee to obtain information that might be used as a basis for discipline, or asks an employee to defend his or her conduct.

If an employee has a reasonable belief that discipline or other adverse consequences may result from what he or she says, the employee has the right to request union representation.

Never give up your right to be represented.

On a more pleasant note, congratulations are due those who worked so hard during recent representation elections, where workers voted, “UTU, yes.” The Bus Department will not work to deliver on our promises.