Growing and strengthening west Michigan's middle class
GRAND RAPIDS October 12, 2015– As members of ATU Local 836 continue to fight with The Rapid to preserve their pension, one Democratic candidate for president has come out in strong support of the bus drivers and mechanics– Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
While the letter Sanders sent was addressed to the members of Grand Rapids ATU, the message was likely meant to urge the members of the board of the Interurban Transit Partnership to honor the defined benefit pensions of the region’s bus drivers and bus mechanics, and to not shift funds into a stock market-based retirement plan.
“Let me be absolutely clear: when you put the pensions of working people at risk, you are making inequality worse, not better,” Sanders wrote. “You are making these families and communities they support weaker, not stronger. That is not the America we want.”
Sanders has represented Vermont in the Senate since 2007. Before that he served in the House of Representatives, representing Vermont’s single at-large district. He has served as an independent, forgoing membership in either of the two major parties, and self-identifies as a democratic socialist.
The letter concludes with Sanders urging the members of ATU Local 836 to stand strong and fight for what has been promised to them.
“I am proud to stand alongside the working families of Grand Rapids and to remind their management that pensions are a promise! Real change never occurs unless ordinary people stand up and fight back. Now is that time.”
To read the full letter from Sen. Sanders, click on the thumbnail above.