In an unprecedented act of repression, Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) officials have violated the First Amendment Rights of Local 1300-Baltimore, MD. The agencies have unlawfully banned Local President David McClure from MTA buildings, forcefully removing him from numerous employee discipline hearings. “They are violating our First Amendment rights in an attempt to silence McClure and all transit workers for informing the riders about the dangerous and life threatening conditions on the system,” says the Local. International President Larry Hanley pointed out similar incidents in Chicago, IL and Grand Rapids, MI. “There is a disturbing trend occurring across our country in which transit agencies trample on the free speech rights of employees who expose illegal practices,” he says. Read more.

Trumpcare most disgraceful legislation since Congress was founded

“The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is the equivalent of a death sentence for thousands of Americans who will be thrown off of their health insurance. Millions of others who won’t be able to go to a doctor when they must will get extremely sick, and lose their jobs, their homes, and their way of life,” says International President Larry Hanley in response to the House of Representatives’ passage of the bill, Wednesday. Hanley pointed out that the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is flawed and that “changes are certainly needed, but any sane person should understand that ripping away a person’s life preserver and tossing them a twig is unconscionable.” Read more.

Wiedefeld’s outsourcing plan provokes union wrath, may not save money

Pointing to countless examples of failed privatization of transit, ATU and transit advocates blasted WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s plan to outsource parts of the system in an effort to cut costs. “It always introduces a partner into the relationship who extracts a profit by becoming the prophylactic for the government in their effort to be a rogue employer,” says International President Larry Hanley. “We don’t want the government to be a rogue employer.” London, England; Nassau County, NY, and Savannah, GA, are just a few bus systems that were privatized where promised savings never materialized and service and employee morale suffered. Read more.

ATU hero in Toronto

TTC employee JP Attard is being hailed for his heroism and quick-thinking for comforting a disturbed man who jumped on the subway tracks. “I didn’t know the cameras were flashing, I just jumped on instinct,” the 55 year-old Attard said. “As long as he was okay, we saved another life.” Dozens of witnesses were singing Attard’s praise. “He just kept talking to him, and said, ‘Breathe in; breathe out’ and ‘Look me in my eye,’” said witness Jeffrey Ribeiro. “Then he was like, ‘Now say, I am strong.’ Then he had everybody on the platform say it with him.” Ribeiro captured the touching interaction between the two men in a video he later posted online, which has gone viral. The ATU praises Attard for his actions. Read more.

Florida bus driver attacked by passenger

Another day and another attack on a transit worker. A man boarded a West Palm Beach bus and refused the operator’s request for him to pay his fare. Surveillance video from the bus shows a verbal altercation between the driver and the suspect, who was then seen striking the driver in the face and dragging him off the bus. “It’s very disturbing,” says Local President Dwight Mattingly, 1577. He called this behavior unacceptable and says the passenger could be banned from riding buses. Read more.

Motor City Freedom Riders to rally for real transit

As Detroit area officials and dignitaries plan to gather at a high-profile event on May 12 to launch a new three-mile streetcar line, the Motor City Freedom Riders will hold a protest highlighting the $140 million taxpayers spent to duplicate existing bus service. The “Rally for Real Regional Transit” will demand officials invest in accessible and affordable public transit for the thousands of Southeast Michigan working class residents who are stranded by the lack of adequate transit service in the city of Detroit and the suburbs. Read more.