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Heartwell disappointed with tactics of Rapid union supporters

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Mayor George Heartwell is speaking out after Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting was disrupted by supporters of The Rapid’s Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).

The meeting came to an early end after protestors chanted during the regularly scheduled meeting and layed down in front of the Commission table.

Heartwell was not at the meeting, as he was in Lansing, but said in a press statement and a video posted on the city’s Facebook page that “future inappropriate behavior during City Commission meetings will not be tolerated.”

“The City of Grand Rapids values an open, transparent and democratic process in conducting its City Commission meetings. The City is charged with conducting the people’s business during these public meetings in an orderly and respectful manner. The brazen tactics that were used last evening are counterproductive. The actions were certainly not respectful and future displays of this manner will not be tolerated.

“The actions last evening were selfish and disrespectful to fellow citizens who, as a result of the disruption and protest, were not provided the opportunity to address their particular issues to the City Commission.”

In a response on the city’s Facebook post, Brandon Wright writes:

“First, we did not intend to force the meeting to end. We fully intended to cooperate with law enforcement/security officials and vacate the premises when asked. The meeting was adjourned before we could be escorted out, in order to show our cause in a negative light.

Second, last night’s demonstration was the culmination of REPEATED attempts to get ITP to negotiate in good faith. We didn’t decide to crash a meeting out of nowhwere. The media has dutifully reported on lur campaign every step of the way, and the incessant snubbing and civil rights violations on the part of ITP/The Rapid are matters of public record.”

Photo from Grand Valley United Students Against Sweatshops

Photo from Grand Valley United Students Against Sweatshops

The ATU is currently without a contract with the City of Grand Rapids.  Negotiations have stalled over pension benefits and contributions.

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    • Lou Franklin

      Given how horrifically the Rapid is losing money, particularly on the Silver Line, that may be a moot point.
      Realistically, the Rapid is not a viable transportation system given the size of the city and the direction it claims to want to be going. The union recognizes that, and wants to be sure that when the Rapid folds that its employees don’t lose their pensions. That seems pretty reasonable to me, and if the news reports have been accurate then I have to agree that they have been trying to bargain in good faith. It is clear to me that the city would rather let the union strike, fire the union drivers, and replace them with non-union drivers in order to save money…on a system they know isn’t going to survive anyway. That is the sort of Heartwellian logic that runs this city.

      • Tiny Pony

        Really, Lou? Care to share your “findings” about the lost money, especially in regard to the Silver Line? I’d love to check them out.


    What, a liberal that doesn’t like liberal tactics ? lol NOW that’s funny.
    The left made the same mistake erwin rommel made, they wrote a book about their tactics.
    See: Rules for rradicals by saul alinsky

  • Shiloh's Mom

    Pension? What’s that? Who gets those anymore? Not me. Nobody in the business world that’s for sure. Stopped happening at least 20 years ago. But the spoiled brats who work for the government insist they still deserve THEIRS and want all the rest of us taxpayers who will never get their own pension, to go broke paying for theirs.Tthey need to either realize how unbelievably good their pay and benefits already are or STFU.

    • Commonsense

      Guess what, we all deserve pensions. You have thrown in the towel in favor of corporate greed. Keep widening the gap between the upper class and lower class with no middle class in between!

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