Greenfield Bus Drivers' Rally Is Feb. 2

In Greenfield, public transit bus drivers will hold a rally for justice on February 2 at 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend the rally, which will be at the town common. The approximately two dozen workers drive and maintain buses for the FRTA or Franklin Regional Transit Authority. They are members of the UE Union Local 274. Even though the buses they drive have FRTA painted on them in giant letters, their employer is FirstGroup Corporation of Aberdeen, Scotland. As of 2010, FirstGroup had 136,000 employees in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Canada and the United States.

"We hope the public will come to the rally to support the workers," Gael Wakefield told the Valley Post on January 26. She is an FRTA dispatcher and president of Local 274. "We work really hard but we don't make a living wage. On February 5, we will meet and vote on whether to accept the new contract or go on strike."

An e-mail from the western Massachusetts chapter of Jobs With Justice asks the public to, “Tell Tina Cote at FRTA to settle the contract. Call 413-774-2262 and/or use the contact form at and/or print-out and sign the petition at:

and mail it to UE 274, 80 School Street, Greenfield, MA 01301.”

“The workers plan to attend the Franklin Regional Council of Governments meeting on Thursday, January 31, 5:30 p.m., at 393 Main St, 3rd Floor, Greenfield.”

More information about the rally is available by calling the union at (413) 773-9519 and at:

The UE’s web site is

“We had two managers at the bus company who were giving us a lot of trouble,” Wakefield told the Valley Post in 2010. “We held rallies and spoke with the upper management. Recently, the company got rid of those two managers. Now, we get along great with the new manager. That was a big victory for us.”


This 2010 photo shows Wakefield and three of her co-workers. photo by Eesha Williams


As of 2010, UE Local 274 had about 250 members at several employers in Greenfield, Montague, and Buckland. Among the employers are FirstGroup, the Lamson and Goodnow knife factory, the Kennametal tap and die factory, the Literacy Project, the Greenfield public school cafeterias, the Greenfield public library, and the Montague highway department.

In recent decades, the richest Americans have gotten richer, while the middle class has gotten smaller and the ranks of the poor have swelled. Union workers in the U.S. make about 29 percent more money than non-union workers. That’s around $9,300 a year extra for the average worker who joins a union. For Latino workers, the union advantage is about 50 percent; for black workers, approximately 31 percent. This data is from

Millions of workers in the U.S. are union members, including workers at Stop and Shop and UPS.

Non-union workers can be fired at any time for no reason. Workers who belong to a union can only be fired for just cause.

More information about unions in the Valley is at:


Please expand Bus service in Franklin County

Every day on my bus somebody asks me if there is ever going to be a weekend bus. Some people want evening service. So the Union Bus drivers helped me put up this Facebook page for riders to network and show some support for the work being done by the commonwealth and FRTA to improve Transit in western Ma.. I’m impressed at the growing support for public transit. It’s hard to change the mindset of a populace but I think this support is long overdue. Thanks To the governor and legislators for tackling this issue. I think FRTA has done everything it could do with the constrains community and government have put on it.

Thanks to Lots of help we have a contract

The Rally for Respect was a Great success. Thank You UE255 Montpelier VT, UE221 Burlington VT , UE 222 Glastobury CT,Local Teamsters from Greenfield, Western Mass Student Labor Project, BayState Nurses, UE Members from Greenfield Market,Western MA Green Consortium . There was even a Greenfield City Councilor that Signed our petition of Support. Please Check in here if I didn't mention you.

Visit our facebook page

Sign our petition to expand Bus Service in Franklin County

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