Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders weighs in on The Rapid labor dispute

Posted at 9:12 PM, Oct 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-09 21:12:53-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A Democratic Presidential candidate is throwing his voice of support to the employees of The Rapid, currently in a contract dispute over pensions with the city of Grand Rapids.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) released the letter Friday to the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 836, which represents nearly 300 local transit workers.

Sanders’ letter begins, “I have heard sad news that several hundred people in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have been denied a promise made by their employer, a public agency funded by taxpayers like you and me. The transit workers at The Rapid were told when they started their jobs that they would receive a defined benefit pension when they retire. Now a boss who makes more than $200,000 is reneging on that promise, telling these hard-working Michiganders that they either need to gamble their retirement security on the stock market or get nothing at all.”

The union and the city have been negotiating for more than nine months on a new contract, with changes in retirement the main point of contention. The union continues to object a proposal from Rapid management to change retirement from the current traditional pension plan and replace it with a plan that resembles a 401K.

Read the full letter here: