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Judge says bus drivers can't be punished for protesting

Rapid Silver Line bus

A judge says bus drivers in the Grand Rapids area can't be punished for protesting near the homes of transit officials.

Federal Judge Janet Neff ruled in favor of drivers at The Rapid, who are unhappy with a proposal to change retirement plans.

The judge says drivers have free-speech rights, and she found evidence that some could be fired for standing outside a board member's house.

The Rapid denies any threats of adverse actions.

On Sept. 10, about 10 union members gathered on a public street near chairwoman Barb Holt's home.

Signs said, "Help Us Out Barb!" It's the second time that the judge has intervened in disputes over demonstrations by drivers.

The Grand Rapids Press says drivers have been without a contract since August.

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