After uncovering “explicitly and vilely racist” Facebook comments by Spokane Transit Authority’s HR director, as well as her defense of others’ making similar comments, Local 1015-Spokane, WA, is calling for her resignation. The Local found that STA’s HR Director Nancy Williams had shared video on her Facebook account of a disturbing incident in which several young black men kicked and punched a young white man. She posted “these ‘kids’ are despicable animals.” Then William’s aunt Beverly Nan Murphy replied to the video, calling Barack Obama a “creature,” further commenting “If you don’t teach primates at an early age, (no matter what skin they are in) they continue to be non-civilized.” Williams “liked” the comment, and defended it as others questioned it. Local President Thomas Leighty called for her resignation at a press conference, “You can’t allow someone who says and defends this type of racist garbage to be collecting a public salary and be making decisions about the fates of public workers.” Read more.



How ridesharing widens disparities
of race and class in urban public transit

From NYC to Los Angeles to Austin to San Francisco, public transit ridership is down in nearly every U.S. city. One of the reasons behind that trend is the rise in ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft as cities skimp on traditional transit service and maintenance. And who loses? People from low income communities and people of color, who rely on public transit the most. Uber’s unsustainable business model is the prime culprit. The company subsidizes fares and flood streets with taxi-like cars in order to grab market share and pricing power. Because people in higher income brackets will use Uber rather public transit, the class and racial divide widens. Read more.



ATU mourns death of Long time
Sergeant-At-Arms and Local 113 member Harvey Ward

ATU is sad to report the death of Harvey C. Ward, retired Secretary-Treasurer of Local 113-Toronto, ON, on May 26, 2018 at the age of 98. Brother Ward was a longtime fixture at ATU Conventions serving as a sergeant-at-arms from 1986 until 2010. For many of those conventions he served as chair of the sergeant-at-arms. Ward joined Local 113 in 1947 when he was hired by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) as a streetcar operator. He was elected to the Local’s Executive Board as Secretary-Treasurer in 1971, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1986. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Ward family and our brothers and sisters at Local 113.



Seattle bus drivers win $8.3 million in back
pay for safety checks, paperwork

In a big victory, Seattle bus drivers will receive an additional $8.3 million in back pay to cover three years of routine safety checks and paperwork performed beyond their usual shift time. This agreement, reached between Local 587-Seattle, WA, and King County Metro Transit, is in addition to a $6.4 million fund created last fall for more than 2,400 operators to resolve a federal investigation on the same issues. Local President Michael Shea called the figure an equitable settlement. “ATU appreciates that our employees are being properly compensated for the work that they are doing.” Read more.



Help ATU reach 20,000 ‘likes’

The ATU Facebook community is growing every day thanks to members, riders, and transit advocates spreading the word about our Facebook page. It’s a great source of information. Through our Facebook Live sessions, regular news posts, and more, members stay up to date on what’s impacting our union and industry. We have 20,000 “likes” in our sights! Help us reach that goal and “like” our page, share our stories and invite your friends to like the page, too. Also be sure to follow our Twitter handle @ATUComm to stay up to date on what’s trending in public transit, politics, and other issues. Like us today!