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Union files lawsuit against Rapid authority

Rapid Silver Line bus

A lawsuit has been filed against the Interurban Transit Partnership - known as The Rapid - related to ongoing collective bargaining negotiations, and ahead of a contract set to expire this weekend.

The suit was filed Monday, following allegations the transit authority refused to allow workers to pass out flyers critical of proposed benefit changes.

The Grand Rapids Press reports the union filing the suit cites First and Fourteenth Amendment violations after members were allegedly ordered to cease distribution of the flyers at Central Station earlier this month. 

Rapid spokesperson Jennifer Kalczuk tells the Press the workers were informed of the authority’s 'no solicitation' policy, and asked to stop. 

The flyers opposed a move by the Rapid board to change employee retirement benefits from a defined pension to a contribution plan. 

That proposal is a part of contract negotiations that began in December.

The current agreement is set to expire this weekend after a 60-day extension was granted at the end of June.

The Rapid transit board’s next meeting is at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Hilary is a General Assignment and Enterprise reporter for WGVU Public Media. She joined WGVU in September 2014 after several years of experience as a local news reporter, anchor and photojournalist in Midland, Saginaw and Bay counties. She's also worked as a financial and business reporter and audio field producer.