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Local ATU member arrested at Rapid Board Meeting

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THE FEED

A local Grand Rapids bus driver was arrested for protesting Rapid Transits CEO's merit bonus.

Rapid CEO Peter Varga listen to open comments during the August 30 2017 Rapid board meeting.

Rapid CEO Peter Varga listen to open comments during the August 30 2017 Rapid board meeting. /John Rothwell

ATU Activist Louis DeShane Lays on the floor with his arms spread just before being arrested at the Rapid board meeting

ATU Activist Louis DeShane Lays on the floor with his arms spread just before being arrested at the Rapid board meeting  /John Rothwell

Rapid Board members walk past arrested ATU member Loius Deshane after his protest caused an adjournment to the meeting.

Rapid Board members walk past arrested ATU member Loius Deshane after his protest caused an adjournment to the meeting.  /John Rothwell

Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Grand Rapids police arrested Louis DeShane, Rapid Bus Driver and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 836 Union Member for trespassing at the monthly board meeting held on Wednesday, August 30.

An hour into the Rapid public board meeting members began discussing the governance report that included CEO Peter Varga's employment evaluation, including a vote on a $4,500 merit bonus.  

Board Chair Barbara Holt addressed the board by saying “We are going on to item 11 (on the meeting agenda) which is concerning the CEO evaluation. Like I said item 11, this was obviously Peter’s (Peter Varga) final review in his position of CEO.”  

DeShane stood up, voiced his opposition of the merit raise for Varga by facing board members and yelling “Not today. No contract, no vote." He rallied other activist union members, leading them in a chant of resistance before the expulsion from the room.  

Two Grand Rapids police officers approached DeShane, issued a verbal warning, led him out of the room where he stopped, spread his arms and laid down on the floor before being handcuffed. As he was being arrested for trespassing, board members adjourned the meeting, and exited the room.

The board members returned a short time later, approving Varga's merit before ending the public meeting and heading into a closed door session.  

ATU members have been without a contract for the past two years and just recently voted down a contract proposal.


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