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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (April 10, 2024) — President Jeremy Ferguson of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers’ Transportation Division (SMART-TD) released the following statement in response to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) final rule on a National Public Transportation Safety Plan and the formation of Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans (PTASPs).

Read FTA’s release on the final rule on the action plans

“SMART-TD has been calling for federal action to protect our bus and transit members for years. Today, we have been given action, rather than promises and further studies to determine what our men and women know too well. Assault in public transportation is an epidemic that is only getting worse, and they need protection! I applaud DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the FTA, and the Biden administration for having the courage to act to contend with this situation rather than delay.”

“When the notice of proposed rule making for these PTASPs was introduced, this organization wasn’t happy with what we saw. SMART-TD and Bus Department Vice Presidents Alvy Hughes, Calvin Studivant and then-Alternate Vice President James Sandoval rolled up our sleeves and dedicated ourselves to making the voices of our bus and transit members heard. Our union is proud to announce today that they were.”

“The final rule out last night reflected and addressed many concerns we’d expressed in our public comments on this matter and what our National Legislative Department, our Bus Department, and our Bus and Transit Assault Prevention and Safety (BTAPS) committee wanted fixed. Most importantly, our men and women will have seats at the table, making decisions on safety measures being taken at their respective workplaces. They will have a level playing field. Employers or managers will not be able to dominate on matters of safety, and if their bosses don’t follow through on the plans our members help form, FTA will step in and enforce them or take away their federal funding!”

Bus Department Vice President Alvy Hughes commented: “When Calvin (retired SMART-TD Bus Vice President Studivant) and I started working on this, the formation and the fairness of these committees was a major concern of ours. I’m pleased to see this issue has been addressed. Now, we need SMART-TD members to step up into leadership roles on these safety committees. It is up to our members to be willing to get on these committees and go head-to-head with the managers to fight for the protections we all deserve of the job.”

“SMART-TD leadership has done the job of making sure the playing field is level on these property-specific safety committees. Our members need to get involved and take up the fight — to bring their frontline experience to the negotiating table and make sure they advocate for every safety feature and every ounce of security and respect our members earn, day in and day out.”


If you’re interested in speaking more about FTA’s decision, we’d be happy to connect you with:

SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson

President Jeremy Ferguson, a member of Local 313 in Grand Rapids, Mich., was elected president of SMART’s Transportation Division in 2019.

President Ferguson, an Army veteran, started railroading in 1994 as a conductor on CSX at Grand Rapids, Mich., and was promoted to engineer in 1995. Ferguson headed the recent national rail negotiations for the Union with the nation’s rail carriers.

SMART Transportation Division Bus Department Sr. Vice President Alvy Hughes

Vice President Hughes, a member of Local 1596 out of Charlotte, N.C., began his career in transportation with the Charlotte Area Transportation System in 1999 and has been a SMART-TD member ever since. Hughes was an Alternate Vice President at SMART-TD from 2014 through 2019, when he was elevated to his current role as Vice President.

SMART Transportation Division Bus Department Vice President James Sandoval

VP Sandoval has been a bus operator at the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District for more than a decade. Brother Sandoval has been intensely engaged with labor efforts after joining SMART-TD as a member of Local 23 in Santa Cruz, first as a local officer and then at a national level.

In August 2022, he became alternate vice president of the Bus Department serving the western portion of the nation. On Oct. 1, 2023, he was elevated to the position of Bus Department vice president.