Archive for category Union related.

Fighting for a better work stationn

 We’ve come a long way: 125 years ago, this September, ATU was formed. One of our first fights was to get enclosed driver vestibules (workstations) on the streetcars we operated. Mindful of our history, what better way is there to celebrate our anniversary than to fight for a workstation designed for drivers’ protection, rather than minimizing cost? So, at your September local union meeting you will be asked to vote for a resolution to demand a safe, secure and healthy bus workstation. Watch this video to learn more about this campaign.

Hamilton transit workers move ball forward in fight to “Keep Transit Public”

Local 107-Hamilton, ON, scored another victory in their community campaign to demand that Ontario’s transit planning arm, Metrolinx, hire the publicly-owned and operated Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) to operate and maintain the new light rail transit (LRT) system rather than contract it out to a private company. The Hamilton City Council voted, 10 -2, to pass a motion to Keep Transit Public . “Now we have to make sure Premier Kathleen Wynne and Metrolinx got the message,” said Local President Eric Tuck. Read more.

Baltimore transit worker, supporters march against BaltimoreLink changes

Local 1300-Baltimore, MD, members, riders and transit allies gathered at Baltimore’s War Memorial to march to the Maryland Transit Administration’s (MTA) headquarters to protest changes to the city’s bus routes that have harmed riders and drivers. The struggling overhaul of the city’s bus system – BaltimoreLink – has created headaches for riders who must make more transfers and catch buses at different stops. The protestors are calling on Governor Larry Hogan and the MTA to revisit the changes, and add service and lines, “because right now,” says Local President David McClure, “these people are not able to get where they need to be.” Read more.

Portland debuts fair fares

Riding public transit is not cheap – especially for low-income families that rely on it to get to work or school. But now Portland’s transit agencies – Trimet, C-Tran, and streetcars – are showing the way to a fairer fare. The agencies have introduced “fare capping” for low-income persons in which they are not charged for trips they take after they reach a certain monthly fare threshold. Portland is the first major American city to enact a fare capping policy. Trimet made the change in response to grassroots pressure for a fairer system, and international transit agencies in cities such as London and Dublin have shown that fare capping works. Read more.

Another busy week at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center

The Tommy Douglas Conference Center is buzzing again this week with local leaders taking part in an Advanced Arbitration Training. The attendees heard from experts and took part in hands-on exercises to learn new skills and strategies for negotiating strong contracts for their members. These and other innovative ATU training programs are a vital step in preparing our Locals for bargaining contracts, engaging our membership, and galvanizing our riders into a potent political force.

 

How today’s unions help working people

Americans have always joined together – whether in parent/teacher associations or local community organizations – to solve problems and make changes that improve their communities. A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) examines how through unions, people are joining together to strive for improvements at the place they spend a large portion of their waking hours: work. The report helps explain how unions fit into the economy today; how they affect workers, communities, occupations and industries, and the country at large; and why collective bargaining is essential for a fair and prosperous economy and a vibrant democracy.

 

Riders, Workers voice concerns on Floundering Baltimorelink

More than 150 angry bus riders, drivers and transit advocates packed the second town hall meeting, organized by Local 1300-Baltimore, to voice their serious concerns with BaltimoreLink, an overhaul of the city’s bus system that has doubled commute times and confused riders. Hospital worker Patricia Whitty’s frustrations echoed many in attendance. “The buses don’t come on time, and it’s not fair to me, it’s not fair to my co-workers,” said Whitty. “I get off at 3:30, I don’t get home until a quarter of six. That is not right.” Gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who is considering running for governor, addressed the crowd. Both criticized Gov. Larry Hogan for cancelling the proposed Red Line light rail line and the struggles of the BaltimoreLink. Read more.


STC bus closure forcing riders to hitchhike

Local 1374– Calgary, AB, warned that the Saskatchewan government’s decision to shutter STC intercity bus service would have a devastating impact on those who rely on the service. Three months after the shutdown some have been forced to hitchhike with no other option for transportation. A University of Northern British Columbia professor, who has been researching hitchhiking along B.C.’s Highway of Tears where a number of women have gone missing or been murdered, says the closure of STC definitely puts lives at risk. “There are dangers out there, particularly in northern, rural, remote settings…if you take away bus service and you put people out on the highway hitchhiking, you could see some really devastating impacts.” Read more.


Boston Carmen’s union honors rider hero

At ATU we hear stories all the time about our members going above and beyond to help riders in need or distress. So, it was inspiring to hear about a Boston bus rider intervening when a knife-wielding passenger stabbed an MBTA bus driver. Local 589-Boston, MA member York Makonnen was on her route when she heard someone scream and pulled over. A man approached her and stabbed her in the back and shoulder. Luckily rider Charles Rozopoulos reacted quickly and wrestled the knife away from the assailant and held him until police arrived. “I was bleeding and thought I would die,’ said veteran driver Makonnen. “I was lucky all my passengers love me and many of them, including Charlie, leaped to save me.” The Carmen’s Union honored Rozopoulos with a party and presented him a black union jacket. Read more.


Palm Tran workers concerned for driver safety after incident

In the wake of a dispute that started on a Palm Tran bus that lead to a shooting outside the bus, Local 1577-West Palm Beach, FL, is calling for increased safety for bus drivers including installing barriers between drivers and riders. This latest incident follows one last April when an irate passenger, who refused to pay his bus fare, was caught on camera assaulting a bus driver. The passenger punched the driver and dragged him off of the bus. The driver is still recovering from his injuries and has been unable to return to work. Over the past 20 months passengers have assaulted 15 and threatened 58 Palm Tran bus drivers. Read more.


Local 689 Warns new WMATA Board Members

As Metro’s two newest board members David Horner and Steve McMillin, Local 689-Washington, DC, members had some advice: don’t believe the hype from WMATA’s leadership. “Since Mr. Wiedefeld became the general manager of Metro, we have heard false claim and false claim,” said a railcar maintenance operator at the hearing. Another worker told the two board members, “The workers and riders of Metro deserve better than a board that listens to no one, makes poor decisions without adequate research, and deliberately chooses to take Metro in the wrong direction…we are here today to ask you to do it differently … Be honest with the public and drive Metro forward.” Read more.

‘Long overdue’: Wheels in motion for Winnipeg’s first transit committee

Now that he’s helping lay the foundations for the city’s first transit advisory committee (TAC), the president of Winnipeg’s transit union is “optimistic.”

It may have taken the city a while to take its first steps towards improving bus safety, but officials are wasting no time taking the next ones with a “long overdue” transit committee.

That’s according to John Callahan, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1505, who has been anxiously awaiting and lobbying for action since February, when a Winnipeg Transit operator was killed on the job.

Operator assaults continued, and Callahan shared concerns with the media that he and ATU members felt there was not enough being done to fix the service’s safety issues.

Then, at the end of May, council’s public works committee approved a variety of safety measures, including the formation of a transit advisory committee (TAC).

Not long after, committee chairperson Coun. Marty Morantz began working with Callahan to set the wheels in motion on forming that group.

“We’ve just been spit-balling, but obviously want to get it together and come up with the term’s of reference for who will be on the committee, what the mandate will be,” Callahan said.

So far, he’s expecting the committee will include representatives from a ridership group, post secondary institutions, people who are disabled, Winnipeg Transit, and the ATU; but he wouldn’t call that list exhaustive and expects to have a clearer picture in the coming days.

Morantz and Callahan are meeting Friday to discuss the details.

“Since we are one of the only major cities that doesn’t have a TAC this is long overdue,” Callahan said, adding being late to the game does have the advantage that there are “many great examples” of transit committees in Canadian cities like Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Guelph, London and Toronto.

“(They’ve shown) a good public transportation system that is safe and reliable is a key in any modern city,” Callahan said. “It’s a staple, so obviously it needs attention it hasn’t been getting here in Winnipeg—I think that shows—but I’m really optimistic about the future of Winnipeg Transit as a result of this ongoing discussion.”

Callahan said the “first task would obviously be the safety issues,” but beyond that the committee will be able to focus on “making the service the best that it can be.”

Morantz said he’s keen to see the TAC organized “as soon as possible.”

“It’s a clear priority to get teh TAC establisehd right away. That’s why we’re meeting and I expect there will be a series of meetings, I want to make sure that we have the right structure in place, so when recommendations come out of the TAC they get proper hearing.

“That is, I think, a key to making sure it has a real role to play in terms of its advisory capacity.”

Good intentions evident in new Winnipeg bus safety practices

Three-and-a-half months after Local 1505-Winnipeg, MB, bus driver, Irvine “Jubal” Fraser, was stabbed to death, the City of Winnipeg is finally making recommendations to bolster bus safety after a 90-day study of the problem. The proposals include hiring more inspectors, installing more cameras, zero tolerance on fare evasion, and more. Local President John Callahan, said the host of security measures being proposed demonstrate “good intentions.” One committee proposal, however, stands out above the rest: the creation of a new transit advisory committee made up of key stakeholders, including workers and riders, to consider ways to improve public transit, and make it safer and more reliable.

It’s been a productive and busy week at the Tommy Douglas Conference with ATU local leaders from across the U.S. and Canada taking part in innovative labor-related trainings. An Advanced Arbitration training is teaching attendees new skills and strategies for negotiating strong contracts for their members. A training on Public Engagement is focusing on building alliances with riders and the public for local campaigns and polishing public speaking and communications skills. In addition, local presidents and the leaders of Local 113-Toronto, ON, learned new ways to motivate their members to get involved, make their Locals stronger, and empower their Locals for the battles ahead. All of the skills taught this week will prove vital in our local leaders’ efforts to engage their membership, riders, and like-minded organizations in local coalitions that will fight for Labor and public transit in their communities.


ECAT workers, commissioner at odds over ECAT’s future

With Escambia County Commission Chairman Doug Underhill threatening to end transit service, ECAT workers leafleted riders urging them to contact county commissioners to tell them support the transit system. The future of the system is in question after the commissioners began the process of taking over management of the system from private contractor First Transit. Local 1395-Pensacola, FL, which represents the workers, supported the move, but Underhill has proposed a voter referendum on whether the county should continue funding public transportation. The Local argues that ECAT serves the neediest in the community, and called for a public forum for riders to voice their opinions on this important issue. Read more.


Spokane transit workers sue authority over refusal of pro-union bus ad

Local 1015-Spokane, WA, has an ad with a simple message it wants to put on Spokane Transit Authority (STA) buses “Do you drive for Uber, Lyft, charter bus, school bus? You have a right to organize.” But STA has rejected the request. In response, the Local has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the agency seeking an order requiring STA to allow bus ads that “promote the availability of union services or that contain public service announcements.” The Local argues that STA’s policy constitutes an unlawful viewpoint-based restriction on speech in a public forum by allowing the promotion of charitable, religious and educational public services while prohibiting the promotion of labor-related public services. A trial is set for June 27, so stay tuned. Read more.


Portland transit workers push for better safety in wake of attacks

After a high-profile attack on a Portland, ON, light rail train that left two good Samaritans dead and another seriously injured for protecting a Muslim rider, TriMet beefed up the security on MAX trains by increasing the presence of transit police officers, supervisors and private security officers. However, the increased security was not enough to prevent a disruptive passenger from assaulting a MAX driver last Friday afternoon. And, in a letter to the public, Local 757-Portland, OR, is calling on TriMet to hire more fare inspectors instead of increasing the presence of armed police and private guards. Read more.


Bus driver blind spots: Isn’t a life worth $300?

Each week we hear another story about a preventable pedestrian accident involving a bus workstation blind spot. U.S buses have huge left hand mirrors, mounted in critical sight lines, that needlessly block the driver’s vision. In fact, from the point of view of the bus driver, up to 13 pedestrians may be hidden behind the massive “A” pillar and left side mirror at any given time. ATU has been at the forefront of exposing this problem, meeting with transit agencies and federal and state officials on the issue. In addition, ATU has produced a video highlighting the problem of bus driver blind spots and solutions to fix it for under $300 per bus. Watch video.


Report bus, rail and maintenance violations on ATU App

Broken mirrors, engine problems, defective steering, malfunctioning air conditioners, oil spills, fire and electrical hazards, emergency equipment issues, inadequate tools, lack of safety training, dirty workplaces, and foul air are among the many dangerous safety issues and working conditions that our members have reported on the ATU App. Now you can help us to fight for your safety by reporting violations. Just download the App to your smartphone and then go to the “Report Bus, Rail and Maintenance Safety Violations and Defects” page and fill out the form to report safety violations. Remember when filling out the form to please follow your transit agency’s cell phone policies if you are working.

Winnipeg Transit continues to put drivers at risk

 Winnipeg transit workers continue to question the City’s concern about the safety of bus drivers as the City and workers wait for a report on the current safety protocols on transit buses. Local 1505-Winnipeg, MB, which was never consulted for the report, says the agency is putting drivers at even more risk because transit inspectors have been coming on buses to ask operators to point out which passengers didn’t pay fares. The review of transit safety was ordered after bus driver Irving Fraser was stabbed to death by a rider in February. “Transit said they were going to consult with us. We have about three weeks left until the report is to be released and still nothing. We are totally in the dark,” said Local President John Callahan who fears the report will not address many of the issues the union has been raising for months. Read more.

A Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) report on the ATU Local 113 crisis is “riddled with omissions and specious interpretations of the events” surrounding Bob Kinnear and Unifor’s Jerry Dias’ scheme to raid the Toronto Local, writes RankandFile.ca. The report seems uninterested and unwilling to address key issues including who paid for the three full page newspaper ads from Kinnear and when exactly was the first contact between Kinnear and Unifor about raiding the Local. Furthermore, RankandFile.ca writes, “The contempt for ATU in CLC Investigator Barry Thorsteinson’s report oozes in every section, he talks about reprisals against members (there has been zero evidence this has occurred), the uncooperativeness during the investigation and their attacks on the CLC President.” Read more.


Buffalo transit workers rally for fair contract, improved service

It’s been nine years since Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) workers have had a new contract, and members of Local 1342-Buffalo, NY kicked their campaign into high gear with a rally calling on the agency to bargain fairly and improve bus service for riders. “It’s absolutely unacceptable that these hard-working men and women have to go to work every single day for nine years, and not only worry about their job, worry about whether or not the routes that they serve in our community are going to be cut, every single day,” said New York State Senator Tim Kennedy, who joined the workers at the protest. “But they do so and are not getting paid the fair wages that they should be.” Read more.


Lessons from the collapse of Bridj

Bridj, a startup that tried to merge the technology of Uber with buses, has abruptly shut down due to funding issues, revealing important lessons about how successful public transit works. First, public transportation is costly. There is a reason why public transportation systems historically require subsidies – they are expensive to build, operate, and maintain. Fares only will not cover all of the costs. The public sector is able to provide the subsidies that keeps public transportation going, largely through vehicles such as a percentage of state sales taxes. Without its private sector funding, Bridj could no longer support itself. This is not unique – take a look at the Uber. That company lost $2.8 billion on $6.5 billion in revenue last year. Once the private sector decides to stop subsiding Uber, it, too, will face either restructuring and downsizing or the final curtain. Read more.


CEO pay increases to 347 times average workers

The rich keep getting richer and workers keep getting left behind according to a new AFL-CIO report on executive pay. In 2016 CEO pay rose nearly 6 percent to an average of $13.1 million per year in 2016 – 347 times more money than the average rank-and-file worker. This comes as more good-paying American jobs have been outsourced contributing to the growing income inequality. Mondelēz International, which makes Nabisco products, represents one of the most egregious examples of CEO-to-worker pay inequality. Mondelēz CEO Irene Rosenfeld made more than $16.7 million in 2016 – about $8,000 per hour. This comes as the company closed its Oreo cookie line at a Nabisco factory in Chicago, sending 600 jobs to Mexico, where workers face poor labor and safety standards. Read more.


Calgary transit workers slam city decision to lay off 60

The safety of the Calgary Light Rail system could be at serious risk as Calgary Transit announced layoffs of 60 workers who maintain the system, says ATU Local 583, who represents the workers. Replacing veteran employees with lower-paid contractors to do the job of maintaining, cleaning or doing snow removal on the platforms could be disastrous. “It can be dangerous — really dangerous — if they’re not in communication with drivers and properly trained,” said the Local. “We’ve got people who have been there for 30 years for god’s sakes, because they love their jobs.” Read more.


Not all heroes wear capes

A South Carolina school bus driver is being hailed as a hero for helping 56 students off her bus before it burst into flames. Two students in the back of the bus noticed smoke and told the bus driver, who got the kids off the bus in under a minute and called 911 for help. “We are so proud of our bus driver,” said school district Superintendent Scott Turner. “She did exactly what she was trained to do. She was calm. She kept the students calm. She made sure they were safe. They were her first priority. She’s our hero today.” The ATU applauds this school bus driver for her quick action. Read more.

MTA Violating Free Speech rights

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.

Axe, brass knuckles lead to arrest after Winnipeg bus ride Friday night

Incident comes on heels of fatal stabbing that killed Winnipeg bus driver

The arrest of a Winnipeg Transit passenger in possession of an axe and brass knuckles on Friday night raises more concerns for bus drivers, says their union president.

The incident is the latest in a string of troubling events that have occurred recently on city buses, Amalgamated Transit Union president John Callahan said Saturday morning.

“I’m very concerned,” said Callahan. “There’s so many operators right now that are scared.”

​Police confirmed Saturday they arrested a 22-year-old male at Watt Street and Nairn Avenue just after 9:30 p.m. Friday night.

Officials said the suspect got on the bus near Regent Avenue and Bond Street shortly after 9 p.m.

Braedon Andrew was sitting in the back of the half-full bus and said the suspect started waving the axe around.

“[A] suspicious looking person was waving around the axe, not trying to like intimidate anyone really, but just really being awkward and holding it out,” he said.

A few passengers saw what was happening and were able to disarm the suspect, Andrew said. The passengers then led the suspect off the bus with the help of the driver.

“I definitely felt threatened because anyone wielding an axe on the bus is not a good sign,” Andrew said.

When police arrived the suspect was standing on the sidewalk.

He’s since been detained on two counts of possession of a weapon and two counts of failing to comply with conditions.

Troubling trend

The incident comes on the heels of a fatal stabbing that left Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser dead after his last stop of the night at the University of Manitoba on Feb. 14.

Callahan said drivers are becoming increasingly worried about their safety and one bus operator received a threat earlier in the week.

“Her husband, who’s also a driver, actually rode with her last night. So it’s fortunate that that incident didn’t happen on their bus, but there’s a lot of concern out there.”

Callahan said since Fraser’s death, there have been other troubling incidents on city buses.

‘People being totally outrageous’

He said that last weekend, a passenger threatened to stab a driver. And earlier on Friday, another passenger was caught with two steak knives in his pockets.

After last weekend’s incident, “the operator called into the control centre very upset,” Callahan said, adding some passengers are “pushing buttons” to make things worse.

“There was a passenger that was asked to scan their transfer by another bus operator and he said, ‘You know what, this is why you guys get killed.’

“Some people are being just totally outrageous in the comments that they’re making in light of such a serious issue.”

Courtesy of CBC News

ATU Canada asks Unifor locals to end Dias’s raid on 113

ATU Canada reached out to all of the locals of Unifor in a letter, asking the Canadian union’s members to encourage their president “to cease his interference,” into the affairs of Local 113-Toronto, ON, “so that we can all return our focus to the daily struggles facing Canadian workers.” ATU Canada explained to the union’s members that, “It is now crystal clear that President Dias is seeking to raid ATU Local 113, and has found a willing partner in a rogue ATU local president, Bob Kinnear.” And that, “Kinnear’s maneuvers were a direct violation of the ATU Constitution and General Laws, Local 113’s by-laws, as well as an egregious violation of all trade union norms of democracy and respect for the members’ rights.” Read more.

Help the family of our fallen Winnipeg Brother

This week was a very sad one for ATU with the murder of Winnipeg bus driver Irvine “Jubal” Fraser on the job. The Local 1505 member died after a passenger stabbed him, Tuesday morning, at 2 a.m., at the end of his run. The police caught and charged the assailant with second degree murder. ATU International President Larry Hanley called for action to address the growing problem of attacks on bus drivers. “ATU demands that transit agencies and government officials bring the same sense of regret that they will display in the public mourning of this tragic, unnecessary death of our brother to the ongoing discussion about preventing these attacks from occurring.” You can help brother Jubal Fraser’s family by contributing here.


Board overturns MARTA decision to outsource paratransit service

Concluding that MARTA’s chief aim in outsourcing paratransit service was saving money on employee salaries and benefits – in essence, avoiding its obligations under the labor contract, an arbitration board has overturned MARTA’s decision to outsource its paratransit service to MV Transportation. Local 732 called the decision “a victory for everybody that was affected by this outsourcing” pointing out customers also will benefit from having experienced, well-trained drivers. Read more.


ATU Iowa fighting to save collective bargaining

Remember when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took away collective bargaining rights for public employees in 2011? Well now Iowa state legislators are attempting to do the same. And like Wisconsin, ATU Iowa is on the frontlines to stop this attack on unions. Our members flooded the halls of the state capitol with thousands of public employees, union members and supporters to protest the Republican-backed bill that would severely restrict public-sector workers’ ability to negotiate contracts. See photos of rally.


Conservative MPs laugh at Amarjeet Sohi’s past as bus driver

Former Local 569-Edmonton, AB bus driver and current the minister of infrastructure and Liberal MP Amarjeet Sohi, was speaking in the House of Commons about his job as bus driver when he heard laughter from Conservative MPs. Sohi, who spoke at ATU’s recent Convention in Toronto last Fall, didn’t miss a beat. His Liberal colleagues could be seen shaking their heads in disbelief. Afterwards Sohi spoke about the incident saying, “I take pride in my background. I think it does demonstrate a streak of elitist attitude in the Conservative Party, where maybe they don’t appreciate we have working-class people in Parliament in the Liberal government who are making a difference in the lives of Canadians.” Read more.


Local 689 voices concern on possible Metro safety commission

Local 689-Washington, DC has serious concerns about the authority a proposed safety commission would have regarding firing employees. A provision in the bill provides the commission alone sweeping power to recommend suspensions and disqualify an employee that it deems unfit, a Local representative told the Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee at a public hearing. The three jurisdictions, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia must act in concert to pass the measure to create the Metrorail Safety Commission. Read more.


Kelowna bus driver ‘cold-cocked’ on highway

The hits keep coming – literally. This time the attack on a bus driver happen in Kelowna, MB where a disturbed young man punched a female bus driver in the head while she was driving. The driver managed to pull the bus over safely and then the passenger reached across her, stepped on her and crawled out her window. With the recent tragic murder of a Winnipeg bus driver, Local 1722 President Scott Lovell is particularly concerned. “These assaults are not stopping. How many bus drivers need to be killed before you change things for drivers?” Lovell believes the way to make buses safer is the installation of bus driver shields. Read more.


New officers learning the ropes at Tommy Douglas Conference Center

The ATU Tommy Douglas Center was very busy this week. Recently-elected local officers have been taking part in innovative trainings to learn new strategies to make their Locals stronger, and to empower members to get involved and prepare for the battles ahead. The participants are hearing from experts on a wide variety of topics to learn new skills to effectively run their Locals and serve their members. They also get the unique opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with their fellow local officers. Photo gallery.

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