Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson issued the following statement on May 17, 2024:

“SMART-TD is in full support of the 130 unionized firefighters in Washington struggling to obtain a fair contract with one of the biggest airplane manufacturers in the world. Boeing executives and management apparently have learned nothing from prior experience where they’ve decided that only they know best and then find out the opposite. Instead, they’ve decided to irresponsibly disregard the offers they’ve received from dedicated unionized employees and have locked them out.”

“The IAFF often has acted on behalf of SMART-TD’s rail workers when we seek legislation that makes both our members and their people safer, including in Washington state. At this moment, the firefighters need our support and solidarity. They absolutely have it.

“Already we’ve had many of our Local 324 members in Seattle, including Troy Shtogren, contribute to the strike fund. They’re bolstering the firefighters’ strength in their action against Boeing and observing the picket line as well. We’re going to keep it up until the IAFF members get a resolution that they’re satisfied with.”

Information on how to support the locked-out IAFF workers

Surface Transportation Board Chairman Martin Oberman joined the STB in 2019, the same year that I became the president of the SMART Transportation Division. In the five years we have been in our positions, many of the battles Marty and I have fought have been the same.

At STB, Oberman has been dedicated to making the rail industry work for the American people and our economy. What made him stand out is that he understands what SMART-TD and rail labor do to make that happen. He has always, very appropriately, seen labor as a partner in the solutions and in the industry.

Ever since he was with Metra working with SMART-TD members to keep Chicago’s passenger rail flowing, Marty has seen value in the experience and wisdom of crews on the front line. When he became a member, then chair of the STB, this mentality came with him — the people on the ground and in the cab are the ones making things work.

Oberman has gone out of his way to give SMART-TD and rail labor a voice in the direction of the industry. This has earned him tremendous respect from this organization’s leadership and from our members.

His no-nonsense, common-sense approach has served this country well, as well as providing many YouTube-worthy quotes and awkward moments for railroad executives who faced his questions. It’s been therapeutic at times to see Oberman demand accountability from rail executives who are so accustomed to dictating the situation to their will.

STB Chairman Martin Oberman addresses the SMART Leadership Conference via video in San Francisco, Calif., in 2022.
STB Chairman Martin Oberman addresses the SMART Leadership Conference via video in San Francisco, Calif., in 2022.

He has been an ally in our fight to get the nation out from under the thumb of Precision Scheduled Railroading. He’s used his clout as chairman to rally against rail carriers’ abuses of shipper embargoes. In recent months, he’s been an outspoken critic of a hedge fund’s hostile takeover of Norfolk Southern.

When given the choice, he’d prefer the industry concentrate on serving shippers and valuing its employees instead of seeing profit and operating ratios as the chief determinants of success. Throughout, he’s seen rail workers as key to this country’s economy, not as enemies of Wall Street investors. This core belief shines through in his time leading the Surface Transportation Board.

Martin Oberman is a friend of the American rail worker. I‘m proud to say that he has become a friend of mine.

When a champion of our cause retires or, as we like to say, “pulls the pin,” it’s a hard pill for the rest of us to swallow. But looking at the structure of the STB today and the watchdog role this board has carved out under Marty’s leadership, it is evident that his legacy will last for decades to come.

I want to personally wish Marty a long and happy retirement with his wife, Bonnie, beginning today. I and every hard-working American in the industry appreciates the fearlessness with which you served the STB and the nation.

Jeremy R. Ferguson,

President, Transportation Division

“This is a good day for the men and women on the ballast line of Norfolk Southern! The attempt by the hedge fund known as Ancora to take over one of this country’s largest railroads could have been catastrophic to our nation’s economy and to the quality of life for thousands of SMART-TD members.

Surface Transportation Board Chairman Martin Oberman and Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg supported NS’s management team because they recognized the threat the Ancora plan posed to rail workers’ safety and quality of life. These leaders’ support for current leadership’s course was not just an endorsement of the recent changes at NS. It was also a rebuke of the destructiveness of Precision Scheduled Railroading.

With two notable exceptions, rail labor leaders saw this scenario for what it was. The majority of us remained in support of the new course set by Alan Shaw and his board. Those others allowed themselves to be taken in by an empty promise.  Thankfully, today all railroaders can be assured that the progress they have witnessed in their quality of life, and the security they and their families count on from their paychecks are no longer at dire risk. Wall Street’s attempt to go back to the Hunter Harrison playbook has failed.

As the president of the largest union on Norfolk Southern’s properties and the largest in the U.S. rail industry, I look forward to continuing SMART-TD’s work with Alan and his team to improve the lives of our rail workforce and to continue to blaze a trail for all Class I railroads to follow.”

Jeremy Ferguson, President, SMART-TD

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (May 9, 2024) — SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson issued the following statement on the results of the Norfolk Southern proxy vote:

“This morning, a rare thing happened with the NS vote. Corporate raiders failed to take the reins of an essential player in the rail industry and veer this nation’s economy back into the bad old days of Precision Scheduled Railroading.

“Ancora’s attempt to railroad the railroad and ‘tear Norfolk Southern down to the studs’ has officially failed. A balanced approach, with particular emphasis on rail safety, will continue there.

“SMART-TD looks forward to continuing the progress we have made with CEO Alan Shaw and his team. They have been establishing a resilient approach to railroading and an improved workplace culture. NS has decided to place the safety of our members and the communities they run through at the forefront, and we are excited to see that this will continue!”

David Philips, SMART-TD General Chairperson for General Committee 680 stated:

“Committee 680 is pleased to hear the outcome of today’s NS proxy vote and plans to continue the progress we have made for our members. Now that the leadership at NS is stable, it strengthens our future negotiations and paves the way to good outcomes for our members.”


If you’re interested in speaking more about Norfolk Southern and the impact of today’s shareholder vote, 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 Alternate Vice President Thomas Gholson

Thomas “Tommy” Gholson, of Local 573 in Danville, Ky., has worked for Norfolk Southern since 1998, first as a brakeman, then as a conductor and as an engineer.

Gholson has served as general chairperson for GO 898 since 2018 and became a SMART-TD alternate vice president in October 2019. He also serves as vice chairperson of the Association of General Chairpersons, District 1.

In conjunction with multiple union officers, Brother Gholson assisted in the negotiation of the national railroad contract talks that opened in 2019. He also served on the Work-Rest Subcommittee and was a driving force behind the work that led to NS joining the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS).

Phone: (216) 228-9400
Department Email:

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (May 7, 2024) — The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) announced today that it will be installing protective barriers in all of its buses by the end of the year.

The step taken by LACMTA will make it the first urban bus system with this safety measure fully installed. Consistent with the Federal Transit Administration’s mandated safety plans, the barriers are designed to protect bus operators from potential assault and will be installed two years ahead of a previous schedule.

Jeremy Ferguson, the president of the SMART Transportation Division labor union (SMART-TD), which represents more than 6,000 LACMTA workers, issued the following statement today:

“Thanks to the L.A. County Metro board and CEO Stephanie Wiggins for their commitment to this groundbreaking safety feat and their willingness to collaborate with SMART. Led by Los Angeles Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation Division Chairperson, John Ellis and his officers, this accelerated initiative for bus barriers on the entire fleet was strongly advocated for by the union. It represents a huge step forward in addressing SMART’s members safety concerns and demonstrates how much can be accomplished when labor and management work together on issues of mutual concern.

“Hopefully this will be a catalyst for many more such improvements for the safety and well-being of SMART members across the nation.”

On April 25, LACMTA’s board initiated emergency procurement procedures to speed up the barrier installations after attacks on workers made headlines.

“This action will make LACMTA a safer transportation system for the workers I am proud to represent and for the passengers we all are happy to serve,” GC Ellis said. “We thank CEO Wiggins and the LACMTA leadership for putting these protections into high gear.”

As of June 2023, LACMTA has 1,888 buses in service. Its system has 11,980 bus stops and serves a 1,447-square-mile region with 120 routes. The LACMTA provides nearly 1 million rides on its bus and rail system every weekday and an average of 580,000 rides per day on weekends.

In March, the agency provided more than 7.6 million miles of bus and rail passenger service for the country’s most-populous county.


SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members who work in a variety of different crafts in the transportation industry. These crafts include employees on every Class I railroad, Amtrak, many shortline railroads, bus and mass transit employees and airport personnel.

Phone: (216) 228-9400

Fax: (216) 228-0411

Department Email:

“I would like to start off by saying that this decision by President Biden’s administration is historic for SMART-TD members and all rail labor. Today’s ruling codifying the two-person freight crew not only demonstrates this administration’s dedication to the safety of this country and our workforce, but it also shows their respect and acknowledgment of our men and women and the work they do. They see our value to this nation’s economy and security. Every railroad professional should take pride in this accomplishment and recognition. We are too often undervalued. Today is a day we should all remember. When this rule came open for public comments, SMART members stood up and spoke with over 13,000 responses to the FRA. Today, we all celebrate the result and the essential proof of the value of the labor of the people aboard the nation’s freight trains. This effort defines what it is to be a union and the power of workers to stand as one. We did it together as a SMART-TD family, and I am unbelievably proud to be the president of this union in what is a defining moment for our industry where safety finally and deservedly came first.”

— SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (April 2, 2024) — After a multi-year effort by SMART-TD members and leadership, DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced today that there will be a minimum of TWO certified rail crew members assigned to the cab of freight trains in the nation. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) ruling on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) finally puts safety first for our industry. With this action, President Joe Biden’s Department of Transportation (DOT) delivered on a promise made in 2020, which supports our ongoing struggle to force railroads to responsibly operate their trains. 

SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson speaks during the announcement of the FRA’s two-person crew regulation on April 2.

Today’s announcement solidifies the role of freight conductors in this country. It comes after a long fight between SMART-TD and the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the railroad companies it represents and the hedge fund operators who own many of the nation’s railroads. SMART’s members participated by sending 13,000 comments to the FRA on the regulation. TD President Jeremy Ferguson and our union’s national and state legislative officers relentlessly pushed lawmakers and government officials to understand the safety ramifications of a nation with single-person freight train crews. President Ferguson attended and testified at the FRA’s public hearing on this regulation in December 2022 and delivered 20 minutes of firsthand accounts to FRA officials demanding they take this step to protect the country from the railroad companies’ greed.

Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose speaks as SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg listen in Washington D.C. on April 2.

National Legislative Director Greg Hynes and Alternate National Legislative Director Jared Cassity orchestrated outreach to every state in the U.S., mobilizing our members to stand up and take part in the public comment period, resulting in our record-setting number of submissions.

Cassity had this to say: “It is no secret that the railroads in this country have been relentlessly pursuing a way to cut our rail crews down to one person. They have poured millions of dollars into pursuing technology that allows them to do this. These corporations are open with the fact they see more value in the trajectory of their stock prices than the safety of this country or the well-being of the conductors and engineers who are the bedrock of our economy. This fight raged for years and, as a union family, we stood toe to toe with the railroads. I want to thank our members for staying engaged in this fight.”

The announcement of this new regulation comes as a relief to all rail workers and to all concerned with rail safety in America. SMART-TD National Legislative Director Greg Hynes gives credit for this win to the collective effort of railroad workers and the state legislative committees throughout SMART’s organization.

“This announcement didn’t come out of thin air. It came from the hard work and dedication of SMART-TD’s men and women!” Hynes said. “Two-person crew regulations have been discussed for years through multiple presidencies and even more sessions of Congress. The men and women of this union have never relented or allowed this issue to get pushed to the side. Our state legislative directors have taken up this fight state after state. Our members have made their voices heard from coast to coast on this issue. Today we reach a place where our vigilance and persistence have paid off. This administration got it done.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announces FRA’s two-person crew ruling on April 2 in Washington, D.C.

The regulation, often mired in partisan struggles, was not a certainty. SMART-TD state legislative committees worked relentlessly to get a dozen states to set a minimum crew size. Our work would continue should the regulation change under a future administration.

Cassity continues, “We have every right to celebrate today’s ruling from the Biden administration, but we cannot for one second think this fight is over. We must stay informed, involved, and on offense. These railroads aren’t used to losing. They will come out swinging to argue against the reality that our people matter, and we have got to be ready for it. SMART-TD remains vigilant, and we ask you to continue to stand with us.”

Read the FRA’s rule.

Attendees at the announcement of the two-person crew freight regulation take a group photo April 2, 2024.


If you’re interested in speaking more about the ruling on two-person freight rail crews, 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 2019 national rail negotiations for the union.

SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director Gregory Hynes

Greg Hynes is a fifth-generation railroader and was elected national legislative director in 2019.

Hynes served on the SMART Transportation Division National Safety Team that assists the National Transportation Safety Board with accident investigations, from 2007-2014.

In 2014, he was appointed to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), which develops new railroad regulatory standards.

Hynes was appointed the first chairperson of the United Transportation Union’s Rail Safety Task Force in 2009 and served in that capacity until being elected SMART Transportation Division alternate national legislative director at the Transportation Division’s 2014 convention.

SMART Transportation Division Alternate National Legislative Director Jared Cassity

Jared Cassity, a member of Local 1377 (Russell, Ky.), was elected to the office of alternate national legislative director at the Second SMART Transportation Division Convention in August 2019 and became director of the union’s National Safety Team in June 2021.

Cassity started his railroad career with CSX in September 2005 and was promoted to engineer in 2008.

In addition to his elected roles, he has been a member of the National Safety Team since 2014, where he was subsequently elected to the position of Alternate Director (East) for the NST in 2016. Likewise, he was elected by his fellow peers of state directors to serve as the directors’ representative on the CSX Safety Model Executive Board in 2013.

Joint pilot program encourages railroaders to confidentially report safety concerns

SMART Transportation Division officers flank TD President Jeremy R. Ferguson (center), NS CEO Alan Shaw (left of Ferguson) and FRA Administrator Amit Bose (right of Ferguson) at Thursday’s signing ceremony in Atlanta.

ATLANTA (February 15, 2024) – Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC), the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) along with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), signed an agreement Thursday to participate in the FRA’s Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS).

The signing ceremony was held at the Atlanta offices of the U.S. Department of Transportation. With attendees from Norfolk Southern, the unions and FRA leadership, the ceremony officially kicked off the one-year partnership.

Norfolk Southern is the only Class I railroad participant in the program, which the company committed to in 2023. As part of the C3RS pilot program, covered Norfolk Southern employees can report safety concerns confidentially.

Railroaders at the company’s Atlanta; Elkhart, Indiana; and Roanoke, Virginia locations will participate in the pilot. Reports will be reviewed by a joint committee composed of Norfolk Southern and labor representatives, who will identify and implement safety improvements with the FRA’s guidance.

About Norfolk Southern
Since 1827, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) and its predecessor companies have safely moved the goods and materials that drive the U.S. economy.

Today, it operates a customer-centric and operations-driven freight transportation network. Committed to furthering sustainability, Norfolk Southern helps its customers avoid approximately 15 million tons of yearly carbon emissions by shipping via rail. Its dedicated team members deliver more than 7 million carloads annually, from agriculture to consumer goods, and Norfolk Southern originates more automotive traffic than any
other Class I Railroad. Norfolk Southern also has the most extensive intermodal network in the eastern U.S. It serves a majority of the country’s population and manufacturing base, with connections to every major container port on the Atlantic coast as well as to major ports in the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. Learn more by visiting
Media Inquiries:

About SMART Transportation Division
SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members who work in a variety of different crafts in the transportation industry. These crafts include employees on every Class I railroad, Amtrak, many shortline railroads, bus and mass transit employees and airport personnel. Media contact:

About BLET
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen represents nearly 51,500 professional locomotive engineers and trainmen throughout the United States employed in both freight and passenger rail. Founded in 1863, BLET is the oldest union in the United States. The BLET also is the founding member of the Rail Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Phone: (216) 228-9400 

Fax: (216) 228-0411  


The results of a strike vote authorized in October by SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson on the Southeastern Philadelphia Transportation Authority (SEPTA) were finalized yesterday, Nov. 20. SMART-TD members of Local 61 (GCA-STA) in Philadelphia overwhelmingly voted to authorize a potential work action.  

This announcement comes after 19 months of contentious negotiations and mediation led by the National Mediation Board with the carrier.   

General Chairperson Ray Boyer expressed disappointment with what he described as SEPTA’s bad-faith negotiating. 

“SEPTA has implemented a tactic called ‘pattern bargaining’ — blending aspects of the railroad and bus industries. Unfortunately, this strategy has disproportionately affected conductors, leaving us significantly behind our industry peers in terms of compensation,” he said. “In essence, SEPTA is demanding a front-row effort from conductors while offering nosebleed pay. We believe that fair compensation is not just about wages but also about acknowledging the essential role we play in the efficient functioning of SEPTA.”  

SMART-TD President Ferguson said that after workers served through a pandemic while receiving wages that trail other regional transit peers that the carrier needs to rethink its approach.  

“We have been clear with SEPTA from Day 1 that our men and women are the lowest-paid workforce in the commuter industry and that this negotiation was NOT going to be status quo,” he said. “They continue to stand behind a smoke screen of fancy language their lawyers put together — mixing crafts when it is convenient and clarifying our members are railroaders when it is to their advantage.  

“This union is not a business-as-usual organization. Our members spoke loud and clear in their vote. Everyone is scheduled to come back to negotiations late next month, and SEPTA would be wise to recognize the leverage these men and women of Local 61 have authorized. We will not settle for anything less than the respect our members have earned.” 

TD Vice President Jamie Modesitt stated that SEPTA rail workers have spoken as a collective voice and SEPTA’s Board should be listening to that voice. 

“The collective voice has spoken, and that voice seeks to correct the wage suppression that has been largely ignored over the years. It’s time for SEPTA’s board to correct the wage injustice that has plagued their rail labor force. Ultimately, correcting the wage disparity at SEPTA, by investing in labor, will increase employee morale, establish greater retention of good talent, better recruitment opportunities, and reward the commitment of the hard-working SEPTA men and women who serve the public every day of the week.” 

General Chairperson Boyer will work closely with President Ferguson and Vice President Modesitt as this situation develops. SMART-TD will ensure our members and the press are kept up to date as we move ahead. 

The union represents 481 members on SEPTA properties.  


If you are interested in speaking more about the union’s stance on this issue and its negotiations with management on the SEPTA property, 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 Vice President Jamie Modesitt  

Vice President Jamie C. Modesitt is a member of Local 298, Garrett, IN, was elected to Vice President in 2019, and resides in Saint Augustine, FL. Modesitt serves on the SMART TD National Negotiation Team and serves as a SMART TD Board Member on the National Railroad Adjustment Board’s First Division. 

SMART Army members from Local 278 (Jackson, Mich.) and Local 1438 (Lincoln Park, Mich.) delivered two cords of firewood to our United Auto Workers (UAW) brothers and sisters in UAW Local 1248 in front of the Mopar Parts Distribution Center in Romulus, Mich. SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson purchased the wood for the UAW strike lines last week while Locals 278 and 1438 took it from there and got it where it needed to go.  

SMART Army members from TD Locals 278 and Local 1438 unload two cords of wood donated by SMART-TD President Ferguson. UAW Local 1248 Strike Captain John Baker, in red shirt close to trailer, said they were in dire need of the wood donation given how quickly the temperatures were dropping.

The union’s donation was well-timed for the men and women on the Stellantis picket line. When SMART-TD’s Nick Greficz spoke to UAW 1248 Strike Captain John Baker, he told Brother Greficz they were in dire need of fuel for their fires. He told Greficz how quickly the temperatures has been dropping with each passing day in late October and that colder weather was taking its toll on morale on the line. 

President Ferguson got the idea to donate firewood to the effort while walking the line in Toledo, Ohio, at a Stellantis plant that produces Jeep Gladiators. The UAW reps in Toledo told them that keeping the burn barrels stocked was a challenge.  

So with cold weather on the horizon, Ferguson committed resources to fulfill a need in solidarity with the UAW prior to the union’s announcement that tentative agreements had been reached with the nation’s Big Three automakers. 

SMART-TD Local 1438 and Local 278 members walk with UAW Local 1248 members in front of Mopar Parts Distribution Center in Romulus, Mich.
SMART-TD Local 1438 and Local 278 members walk with UAW Local 1248 members in front of Mopar Parts Distribution Center in Romulus, Mich.

Unions in the United States have championed workplace safety from the beginning. In the 1870s, organized labor championed “State factory safety and health laws” — the predecessor of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) a century later. Whether it’s freight rail, bus or transit, workplace safety remains the foundation of everything we strive toward.

Our organization and labor have made tremendous headway, but as was clear over the summer, there is progress yet to be made and fights left to be won. We had two trainmen trainees killed in Maryland railyards.

We have been screaming into the megaphone to FRA, STB, NTSB, Congress, the White House, people in the media — frankly anyone else who will listen — that we will not stand for the current state of training on America’s Class I railroads. Please follow this link to read SMART-TD’s statement regarding the safety of our trainmen trainees, as well as the safety advisory we issued in hopes of directly speaking to our newly hired brothers and sisters and the conductors who mentor or train them.

It is our hope that our internal safety advisories will be a jumping-off point to inspire productive conversations. If carriers think they can get away with insufficient and unsafe training without SMART-TD opposing it, they are very much mistaken. Please take the time to read these materials.

While on the topic of safety, I want to proudly announce the formation of a new committee at SMART-TD focused on ending the epidemic of physical assault on our bus and transit membership. SMART-TD‘s Bus/Transit Assault Prevention and Safety (BTAPS) Committee was established at the SMART Leadership Conference in Washington, DC this August. It was born from the courage of Legislative Representative Christine Ivey of Local 1785 (Santa Monica, Calif.), who brought up the long-overdue idea that SMART-TD needed to form a committee to lead the charge for the transportation workers of this country — researching workable solutions to the increasing violence against on-duty members.

I agreed with the message Ivey eloquently and passionately shared and called for a vote on the formation of the committee on the spot, naming Sister Ivey as chairperson of the BTAPS Committee. It is not in this union’s DNA to sit idly by while our members’ safety and personal well-being are at risk.

Please read SMART-TD’s statement regarding the safety of our trainmen trainees, as well as the safety advisory we issued in hopes of directly speaking to our newly hired brothers and sisters and the conductors who mentor or train them

The BTAPS Committee and Chairperson Ivey have my full support and confidence as they strive for increased mandatory sentences for those who assault transit workers and craft the legislative language to protect our brothers and sisters. I thank her for her leadership on this important topic. BTAPS is looking for both bus and transit members to volunteer to serve. To be considered for an appointment to BTAPS, or if you know of someone we should be considering, please contact her at, or Dan Banks in our Cleveland office, at

On another positive note, I am happy to announce the retirement of SMART-TD Vice President Calvin Studivant, senior VP from our Bus Department. Calvin has dedicated his life to advocating for the safety, compensation and respect our bus operators and mechanics deserve. He has led the department since being elected VP in 2014. Along with VP Alvy Hughes, Studivant has led SMART-TD’s Bus Department to unparalleled success. We all wish Brother Studivant a long and happy retirement, and I thank him for all his years of dedicated service to our members.

As we wish Calvin the best, we are encouraged that he leaves our Bus Department in the capable hands of VP Hughes and James Sandoval from Local 23 in Santa Cruz, California, who has been elevated to VP. Brother Sandoval has served multiple roles in his career, and I have every confidence in his ability. The TD Board of Directors has approved General Chairperson Markeisha Haynes of Local 1785 as our new alternate vice president of the Bus Department. When sworn in, she will be the first Black woman to serve our union at this level of leadership. I am very proud to have Sister Haynes in the SMART-TD leadership team!

September marked the beginning of elections in most SMART-TD locals. Not only does this union need these leadership positions to be filled to function well, but they need to be filled with dedicated brothers and sisters willing to work to better the lives and careers of our members. This is not a top-down organization — it is supported and maintains its strength from the bottom up. The local leaders of today will spearhead the future of this organization and this movement. The first step is getting involved.

Please engage in your local and become well-informed about who is running. Make wise decisions in your leadership — these leaders have a hand in your safety and your family’s well-being.

Thank you for your continued support, and I want you all to have a great fall. Please don’t let the distractions of a new school year, football season and all the trappings take away from focusing on the safety of you and those you work with.

In Solidarity,

Jeremy R. Ferguson
President, Transportation Division

The SMART Transportation Division has formed a new committee to address the growing problem of assaults on bus and transit operators. The Bus and Transit Assault Prevention and Safety committee (BTAPS), was founded at the recent SMART Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

The idea for the committee was raised by Christine Ivey, a legislative representative from Local 1785 out of Santa Monica, Calif. Ivey spoke during a TD breakout session about the need for a union-led effort to address the issue of assaults on bus and transit operators.

Legislative Representative Christine Ivey of Local 1785 (Santa Monica, Calif.) addresses TD leadership Aug. 2 at the SMART Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

“The gate is already open. The bull is coming out. We’ve already had drivers stabbed. We’ve had drivers shot. We’re still having drivers that are being assaulted and we’re still dragging our feet on creating laws that protect the drivers,” Ivey said from the floor of the leadership meeting. “My question is, ‘How do I get on a team that will propose a bill that will change the status quo?’ ”

SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson was impressed by Ivey’s presentation and called her up to the podium to address the entire crowd from the stage. When Ivey finished making her points about the need for SMART to consider developing a committee to address these concerns, Ferguson stepped to the mic and surprised everyone in the room, including Sister Ivey, with what came next.

President Ferguson called for a point of order and all eyes locked on him. He then said that in his opinion, what Sister Ivey had just said to the leadership of SMART-TD constituted a motion on the floor. Ferguson then called for a second on the motion to officially form the committee and immediately called for a voice vote. The motion passed unanimously, and with a spontaneous standing ovation, the Bus and Transit Assault Prevention and Safety Committee was founded.

Ferguson named Ivey chairperson of the committee with no objections. Ivey is a highly experienced union leader and advocate for bus and transit operators. She is well-respected by her peers and is known for her passion for safety.

The BTAPS committee will be tasked with developing and implementing strategies to reduce the number of assaults on bus and transit operators. The committee will also work to raise awareness of the issue and advocate for policies that will make bus and transit operators safer, including lobbying in Congress and state legislatures to urge that punishments for the crime of assault on a transit worker be heightened from a misdemeanor to a felony.

“This is a historic moment for the SMART-TD union,” said Ferguson. “We are committed to doing everything we can to protect our members from violence. The Bus and Transit Assault Prevention and Safety committee will be a powerful tool in our fight for safety. Christine Ivey is driven, intelligent, and determined to make this committee successful. I have full confidence that SMART will be proud of what this committee will achieve through Sister Ivey’s leadership.”

The committee will meet regularly and report its findings to the SMART-TD Board of Directors. The committee will also advocate for safety measures at the federal and state levels through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

Ivey and Ferguson seek nominations for bus and transit members to serve on the committee. If you are willing to serve and would like to be considered for an appointment, please contact Chairperson Ivey at or Dan Banks in SMART-TD’s Cleveland office at (216) 227-5450 or by email at

The formation of the committee is a major step in the fight to protect bus and transit operators. The committee is well-positioned to make a real difference in the lives of SMART-TD members and make bus and transit a safer place for our members to work and passengers to ride alike.