Archive for category Union related.

ATU Training coming soon to your Mailbox

Keep an eye out for the next In Transit coming to your home soon. This edition features stories on ATU’s innovative and comprehensive training programs for Local officers and members alike to prepare, anticipate and fight for the interests of our members, riders and our communities. Also be sure to read International President Larry Hanley’s column and one from new ATU Canada President John Di Nino. We also cover the winners of the 2018-2019 ATU Tommy Douglas scholarships. You’ll also find stories about ATU Locals engaging and mobilizing in their communities. Check out this video for a preview.


Edmonton Local wins in ruling for drivers’ privacy

In the wake of two bus-related pedestrian fatalities in 2016, the City of Edmonton hired a contractor to develop a program to evaluate new hires’ driving skills and cognitive abilities. Citing privacy concerns Local 569-Edmonton challenged the cognitive testing in a grievance, arguing the city had “no legal or factual basis for imposing cognitive testing on all ETS drivers and no legal or factual basis for imposing subsequent medical assessments” on operators flagged by the test. An arbitrator agreed ruling that the cognitive testing is “unreasonable” and “intrusive” and an invasion of privacy. Now the Local and the city are working to reach a monetary settlement for those affected by the breach of privacy. Read more.

An ATU hero in Topeka, KS

Topeka Metro bus driver Niles Brandstoettner is being hailed as a hero for saving a lost child on his route. The Local 1360-Topeka, KS, member said his instincts took over when he saw the little girl walking in the street barefoot with no one else around. “I knew something was wrong, I pulled the bus over, I got out and went and picked her up,” Brandstoettner said. “I did the same thing anyone would have done, I hope.” The dispatcher who took the call from Brandstoettner, praised him, “Niles is a very compassionate, high energy and he thinks quick on his feet.” We couldn’t agree more. Read more.


Toledo Local: TARTA faces morale issues

Forced overtime and frequent bus breakdowns are devastating TARTA drivers’ and mechanics’ morale, Local 697-Toledo, OH wrote in a letter asking the agency head to attend a meeting of workers to discuss their concerns and possible solutions. “We are worn down and tired. Our families suffer because we are slaves to TARTA,” wrote Local President Carly Allen pointing out drivers put in more than 80 hours a week, have day-off requests denied and are disciplined for showing up a minute late. The Local’s mechanics say bus breakdowns are happening far too often, leaving them “frustrated and worried about what’s out on the road.” TARTA’s General Manager couldn’t attend, but sent his human resources manager instead. Read more.


Another possible blind spot accident

The tragic death of a pedestrian killed by a Harrisburg bus in a crosswalk could be another example of a preventable blind spot accident caused by poor bus design. Roughly one pedestrian per week is killed by a transit bus in the U.S. from accidents like these. Many buses in the U.S. have huge left hand mirrors mounted on critical sightlines and a massive “A” pillar that needlessly block the driver’s vision. More than a dozen pedestrians may be hidden from the driver’s view at any given time. Meanwhile European buses provide drivers with a clear view. ATU has been engaged in a union-wide campaign to call on transit agencies to fix these dangerous blind spots and other bus safety issues. ATU sends condolences to the Harrisburg victim’s family and thoughts to the bus driver involved in this accident. Read more.

Majority Wants Provincial Funding
Restored to Winnipeg Transit

Four out of five Winnipeg voters want the province of Manitoba to resume paying for half of the city’s transit costs that aren’t covered by fares according to a poll commissioned by Local 1505-Winnipeg, MB. The province froze its transit funding for Winnipeg at 2016 levels claiming a budgetary deficit. That left the city responsible for inflationary cost increases. In response the Winnipeg City Council raised transit fares this year. “The province has to step up and be able to restore the funding,” said Local President Aleem Chaudhary. “We also have the carbon tax coming in, and we should be able to put the funding back and … increase it.” Read more.

 

‘He was stabbed 13 times’: Union boss calls for more security after bus driver attacked, Edmonton Alberta

The president of the union representing bus drivers is calling for 24-hour security at transit centres after a bus driver was stabbed 13 times early Wednesday morning, the second attack in about one week.

And Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said “there’s more work to do” on security measures at transit and LRT stations.

The bus driver who was stabbed multiple times early Wednesday at the Mill Woods Transit Centre was released from hospital, the city said Wednesday night.

The 65-year-old driver was at the transit hub on Hewes Way in southeast Edmonton when the attack happened at around 3:40 a.m., police said.

Paramedics treated him at the scene before taking him to hospital suffering serious, but non-life threatening injuries. A 15-year-old boy is in police custody.

In a statement, a city spokesman said they had reached out to the driver to offer ongoing support.

‘Stabbed 13 times’

Mark Tetterington, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569 which represents bus drivers, feels transit peace officers need to be present at transit centres overnight.

“I think the only solution is to have that presence at all those transit centres 24 hours … you have to have that presence, we have to make the buses a safe place not only for our operators but also for the public.”

“They want to increase ridership, that’s where you start.”

Tetterington said he had been told by the transit branch manager that the driver was stabbed around a dozen times by a youth who asked him for a ride downtown.

Tetterington said the youth approached the driver and asked if he could get a ride in that direction because the bus was out of service and returning to the garage.

The driver phoned control to let them know the youth was stranded and needed a ride. He was told a peace officer would be sent out to drive the youth downtown.

“He was stabbed 13 times,” he said. “By the grace of God, he’s still alive. I got an update on his condition from the branch manager, and he said that he’s going to be released amazingly in a couple hours. They’re all just stitches. They never hit any vital organs or veins or arteries, which was a miracle.”

Tetterington said the bus driver was able to escape to the terminal long enough to call police.

Tetterington said retractable driver shields are being installed on some buses as a pilot project. However, a shield doesn’t protect drivers while they’re in transit stations, he said.

‘Hits close to home’

Iveson reacted to the stabbing Wednesday saying it “hits close to home” for all Edmontonians, and that the city is taking concerns from the public about safety on the transit system “very, very seriously.”

“I continue to use transit because it’s an important part of my commute and I feel safe generally on the system,” said Iveson. “So that’s been my experience, but I do recognize and understand that some people do not feel safe and that for women, in particular, their transit safety concerns particularly in the evening and quieter times on the system.

“I’ve chatted with a couple of the councillors already, heard from the transit union and there’s clearly more work for us to do.”

Last week, a 19-year-old man was stabbed multiple times in the chest in an unprovoked attack on Sept. 18 at the South Campus LRT station platform.

Iveson said there are a lot of deterrents to crime on the city’s transit system, including security cameras, the presence of other people, operators and transit peace officers.

“With two high-profile incidents close together, questions have been raised about safety on the system,” said Iveson. “And that’s why we’ve added police and additional transit peace officers in recent years in order to try to have more patrols on the system, added more cameras as well. And those cameras at the end of the day will help hold accountable people who behave inappropriately on transit. So I’m hopeful that the cameras will be able to help with the investigation, whatever happened here.”

Bus drivers regularly face violence on the job

According to freedom of information data requested by Postmedia last year, which covered Jan. 1, 2014 to July 6, 2017, there was an average of one attack on a transit operator per week in Edmonton. Across Canada, there are 2,000 bus driver assaults every year according to the Canadian Urban Transit Association, and more that go unreported.

Around one-third of the Edmonton incidents involved a driver who was punched or kicked. Cases where an operator was bitten or spit on made up another 30 per cent. Pushing or shoving incidents were the next largest category, followed by thrown objects — including coffee, liquor, garbage and, in one case, a “small block of cheese” chucked at an operator’s face by a man who was refused a free ride. Four instances were classified as sexual harassment.

Of the 193 attacks since 2014, 33 resulted in an arrest and six led to criminal charges. The No. 8 bus, which runs from Abbotsfield Mall to Mill Woods, was the most dangerous route, with 27 incidents.

ETS driver stabbed by 15-year-old suspected bus thief at Mill Woods Transit Centre

More U.S. Public Sector ATU locals in NON-RIGHT-TO-WORK STATES AT 100% MEMBERSHIP

 

It’s been a few months since the U.S. Supreme Court’s treacherous Janus decision and ATU public sector Locals in non-right-to-work states have been mobilizing to get 100% of their members signed up and recommitted as ATU members. We are happy to report more and more Locals have been successful. To date, Locals 192-Oakland, CA, 265-San Jose, CA, 285-Steubenville, OH, 726-Staten Island, NY, 752-Bloomington, IL, 824-New Brunswick, NJ, 842-Wilmington, DE, 880-Camden, NJ, 883-Everett, WA, 1027-Fresno, CA, 1070-Indianapolis, IN, 1241-Lancaster, PA, 1249-Springfield, IL, 1336-Bridgeport, CT, 1499-Muncie, IN, 1574-San Mateo, CA, and 1704-San Bernardino, CA have 100% of their members committed to ATU! Get involved, and get your Local 100% committed, too.



Despite national trend, public transit
is winning in Connecticut

ATU has been saying for years, invest in public transit and riders will come. Look no further than Connecticut, which has seen a 5.4% increase in bus ridership while many other states have seen ridership plummet over the last few years. Why? The state put more money towards transit – expanding bus service including more routes for college students. Also a new commuter rail line was opened in June and ridership doubled on the line, which was formerly Amtrak-only service. The rail line operates like a bus line and a subway with more stops – and the trains are newer and nicer. Hopefully other states will follow Connecticut’s example and invest in more and better public transit. Read more.


Saint John Local: Facing our transit future

With a provincial election next week, Local 1182-St. John, NB, President Tom McGraw authored an op-ed on the critical role of investing in public transit in Saint John and the importance of the voting for transit-friendly candidates. “New Brunswick needs to help smaller cities like Saint John cope with the inevitable added pressure on its transit budget,” he writes. “Access to affordable transit is proven to reduce poverty…As well, public transit can foster inclusion and promote population growth across the province.” McGraw urges citizens to “ask your regional candidates if they have solid plans to support public transit and get out and vote in the Sept. 24th provincial election. Hop a bus to polling station!” Read column.


Minneapolis Local crashes event
celebrating Janus decision

A Koch brothers backed celebration of Janus vs. AFSCME, featuring the infamous Mark Janus and Rebecca Friedrichs, got a surprise as ATU Local 1005-Minneapolis joined other unions in protesting outside the event. Chanting “Who are we? Union!” and “What’s disgusting? Union busting!” More than 100 union members converged on the Minneapolis Hilton where the event was being held. Local President Ryan Timlin addressed a raucous crowd with spirited remarks about the importance of collective action and how every right that workers enjoy today was fought for by union workers of the past. Read more.

Another day, another attack on a bus driver

Rarely does a week go by that we don’t hear about another attack on a transit worker. The latest comes from Prince William County, VA outside of Washington, DC. The driver noticed a man running alongside his bus. Once the vehicle was stopped, the man started to bang on the door. When the driver refused to open the door, the assailant stood in front of the bus yelling. He then went to the back of the bus, kicked out one of the lower windows on the door and got inside. The man then sprayed the driver with an unknown substance, leaving the driver with minor injuries. ATU Locals have been engaged in a union-wide campaign to demand a redesign of bus driver workstations to protect drivers from assaults, eliminate dangerous blindspots, and other improvements. Read more.

ATU 1505 Winnipeg had an amazing moments on Labor Day

A bit late, but it was a lot of fun and it showed us that if we stay together we can do a lot of things that will benefit to all.

 

 

Congrats to everyone that participated, it was a lot of fun.

Happy Labor Day

This weekend we celebrate Labor/Labour Day in the United States and Canada with family and friends. ATU can be proud as our members are mobilizing from Birmingham, AL, to Saskatoon, SK, to Milwaukee, WI, to Halifax, NS and countless other communities. We have created a video to show our members working to demand more transit funding, to fight privatization efforts, to push for safer bus driver workstations and more. This Labor/Labour Day remember “We are a Proud Union Family”! Watch video.


Harrisburg transit workers rally for more,
better, and safer service

Capital Area Transit (CAT) workers are angry and rallied to demand more, better, and safer bus service for the people of Harrisburg before testifying at a CAT board meeting. Local 1436-Harrisburg, PA, have been working without a contract since their contract expired on June 30. There is a shortage of workers, forcing many to work overtime. The agency even outsourced one lucrative route to Hershey Park. Meanwhile CAT management has been using delay tactics in an attempt to extract concessions from the workers. “Our members love our jobs and want to provide the best possible service for the people of Harrisburg who rely on us,” said Local President Lionel Randolph. “And we want to be treated with the respect and dignity we deserve by our employer.” Read more.

The economy is booming, your salary is not:
Blame the decline of unions

A new study shows just how much organized labor can raise individual worker’s wages–even for nonunionized workers. Over the last 40 years as union membership declined working Americans have barely seen their salaries grow, while the cost of housing and basic needs have risen and CEO salaries skyrocketed. When unions were at their strongest prior to the 1960s, the gap was smaller between worker and executive pay and they secure higher minimum wages and better access to health care. Researchers only speculated that unions created positive spillover effects at nonunionized workplaces. A University of Illinois study of the transportation manufacturing industry shows the impact of a drastic decline in union membership on all workers. “My studies suggest that the wage growth in their career would have been more reliable, and their wages less volatile, had the broader decline of unionization in transportation manufacturing not been so severe,” the report’s author says. “I found that to be true both for folks who are members of labor unions, folks who transition out of union jobs, and folks who were never in unions to begin with.” Read more.

Trouble in paradise: Martha’s Vineyard
drivers fighting for contract, safer service

ATU is making some noise not often heard on the tony island of Martha’s Vineyard this summer. Vineyard Transit Authority workers held a picket demanding a fair contract and safer bus service. Short staffing by VTA subcontractor, Transit Connection (TCI), has resulted in coerced overtime for workers jeopardizing safety of bus service. The workers joined ATU in 2015, but contract talks have stalled as TCI has used the public’s money to engage in dilatory and unnecessary litigation. One driver at the picket said all they want is a better standard of life. “I work three jobs and I’m struggling. People that drive potato trucks make more money than us, driving 50 people with all that responsibility,” he said. Both sides are due to come to the bargaining table in September. Read more.

In victory for unions, judge overturns
key parts of Trump executive orders

In a setback for the White House’s efforts to weaken federal employee unions, a federal judge struck down key provisions of a set of executive orders aimed at making it easier to fire federal employees and weaken their representation. The new rules had restricted the use of “official time” — on-duty time that union officials can spend representing their members in grievances and on other issues as well as limited the issues that could be bargained over in union negotiations. In her decision, the judge wrote: “While . . . the President has the authority to issue executive orders that carry the force of law with respect to federal labor relations, no such orders can operate to eviscerate the right to bargain collectively as envisioned.” Read more.


Another attack on a transit worker,
a Winnipeg transit supervisor

It’s déjà vu in Winnipeg, as yet another transit worker was attacked. This time it was a Winnipeg Transit supervisor assaulted on a bus when a dispute over an insufficient fare escalated into an attack. A man and two male youths boarded the bus, but one didn’t have enough money to pay the fare. They became verbally aggressive and the supervisor asked them to leave the bus. Instead of leaving they punched the supervisor, violently dragged him off the bus and kicked and punched him. Police just happen to be nearby and intervened. The assailants were charged with assault. While the supervisor isn’t an ATU member, Local 1505 -Winnipeg, MB, President Aleem Chaudhary says more protection is needed for workers. Read more.

JANUS DECISION ATTACKS WORKERS RIGHTS

“Behind Janus is the coordinated attack on labor rights by the Koch brothers, other billionaires, and the anti-worker groups they back like the National Right to Work Foundation and Americans for Prosperity,” said ATU International President Larry Hanley in reaction to this week’s Supreme Court’s decision on Janus vs. AFCME, Council 31. “They want every minute of American life to be spent toiling under the bosses’ thumb. They don’t believe in democracy or the rights of the individual worker.” Hanley pointed out ATU has been preparing for the Janusdecision over the course of this past year with trainings to rediscover our roots and strengthen ATU locals. “Their power play has awoken a sleeping giant – organized labor. The labor movement has historically been at its strongest when under attack, and this is the greatest assault in a generation,” Hanley continued.



Tips to stay safe in the summer heat

It’s almost July and temperatures are soaring, and many of our members will face dangerously hot and humid conditions on the job over the next few months. In order to ensure your health and safety make sure the check out the ATU bulletin on Heat Stress Safety for tips on how to be prepared to deal with the summer heat. This bulletin can be downloaded here in English, Spanish, and French. Be sure to share these with your brothers and sisters at your Local.

Baltimore Local warned of unsafe Metro tracks for several years before emergency shutdown

Baltimore Sun Maryland Public Information Act request showed that Local 1300-Baltimore, MD, warned the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) of rail safety concerns on Metro SubwayLink more than two years before the agency suddenly shut the entire system down for a month. In June of 2016, MTA and the Local visited a subway station uncovering more safety issues. Less than a month later the MTA announced a partial system shutdown. Days later Local President David McClure wrote to MTA officials that despite the union’s due diligence to inform the agency of safety concerns nothing has been done. “At best, the current approach being pursued is a result of complacency,” he wrote. “At worse [sic], it seems aimed at guiding the system into an unnecessary state of crisis that could be leveraged to justify political objectives like privatization or further divestment from Baltimore City’s transportation system.

Restroom ‘Nightmare’: CT transit drivers
to rally for better access

Connecticut bus operators angry over the lack of bathroom breaks, rallied to demand CT Transit and the state DOT to make more safe, clean restroom facilities available on all routes. The rally comes in the wake of a firestorm over a video of a bus operator reliving himself on the side of a busy road. To avoid having to use the bathroom on the job many bus drivers won’t drink water or eat before or during their work shifts. Others have resorted to wearing diapers so they can avoid having an embarrassing accident while in the driver’s seat. “I can tell you from my own experience many times I had to pull the bus over and pee behind the back tire,” said Local 281-New Haven, CT, President Ralph Buccitti. “It’s a serious problem. We’ve tried to negotiate to get access to bathrooms. We are bargaining for a basic human right: to use the bathroom.” Other CT Locals participating in the rally were 425-Hartford, 443-Stamford, 1209-New London, Local 1336-Bridgeport, 1622-Danbury and 1763-Rocky Hill.

ATU NJ calls on State Assembly to pass Governor’s budget to fund public transit

ATU NJ members are engaged in an aggressive campaign to demand that the New Jersey Democratic led Legislature pass Governor Chris Murphy’s proposed budget which provides critical funding for NJ Transit and increases taxes on the wealthy. The campaign has targeted NY State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, who have proposed a budget that does not include Murphy’s proposed increase in the state sales tax to 7 percent or a “millionaires tax” to raise money for transit. During his tenure former Gov. Chris Christie raised fares twice while cutting state transit funding, leaving NJ Transit in shambles. ATU NJ Local members have been out in full force at transit stops, rallies and other public events urging NJ Transit riders and others to call Sweeney and Coughlin to urge them to pass Gov. Murphy’s budget.

Silicon Valley bus drivers forced to
sleep in parking lots

Bus driver Adan Miranda hauls people across Silicon Valley every day. But rather than commute 100 miles home each night to a Sacramento suburb he is sleeping in a San Jose parking lot provided by his employer, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). Miranda and most of his fellow bus drivers and mechanics can’t afford to live in the Bay Area. But Miranda and his co-workers may not be able to sleep in the parking lot soon because VTA is planning to sell it off in an attempt to raise revenue. “We feel the program is an unfortunate condition of the times we live in,” said John Courtney, Local 265-San Jose, CA, who represents the VTA workers. ATU demands that VTA workers be paid so they can live in the community they serve.

The Story of “Micro Transit”
is consistent, dismal failure

For years “micro transit” was being touted as the next big thing in urban transportation. “Micro transit” is a mobile app-based service that functions like UberPool or LyftLine but with large vans or minibuses to match passengers making similar trips in a single vehicle. But so far it has flopped and miserably so. Case and point is now-bankrupt Bridj in Kansas City. Six months in to its partnership with Kansas City’s transit agency, the Bridj vans had only provided fewer than 600 rides, far short of the 200 per day that was initially projected. Despite this failure and countless others, at least 24 transit agencies are expected to initiate micro transit contracts this year. ATU encourages these cities to come to their senses and realize funds would be better spent investing in their current public transit systems.

Local calls for resignation of HR Executive over racist FB comments

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!

TTC walks away from bargaining table with Local 113


Showing disrespect to Toronto transit workers, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) walked away from the bargaining table after Local 113-Toronto, ON submitted a contract proposal. The Local expressed disappointment with the TTC’s decision to abandon negotiations. The agency says it has applied for conciliation. The Local has invited the TTC to return to the table and bargain in good faith to reach a fair agreement. They also pledged to continue the fight to protect workers’ pensions and benefits, while saving Toronto’s public transit system from privatization, which cost taxpayers more money in the end.

Atlanta paratransit workers call off strike, progress in negotiations

In reaction to a strike threat by Atlanta paratransit workers, MV transportation and Local 732-Atlanta, GA, have made strong progress in contract talks. The Local had called for their second one-day walk-out to protest unsafe buses and dangerous work conditions that are threatening the safety of riders and drivers. “The operators of these buses don’t see our passengers as just passengers; they’re family to us. Just recently, one driver had a wheel fall off his bus, and thankfully, there was no one on his bus at the time,” said Local President Michael Majette. In addition, the Local has challenged the decision to outsource the paratransit service. The two sides hope to reach an agreement soon.

Uber, Lyft and Via sue to block wheelchair-accessibility mandate

Showing their disregard for people with disabilities, Uber, Lyft and Via have banded together to defy a recently passed NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission mandate requiring more of their service be wheelchair accessible. The TNCs filed a petition against the rules, which will require that within 12 months 5% of all trips be in wheelchair accessible vehicles. That will rise to 25% by July 2023. Disability advocates believe the mandate doesn’t go far enough. “We’re grateful the city is trying to push for accessibility, but it’s not enough,” said Ruth Lowenkron, director of the disability justice program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “We think they have their own obligation under the non-discrimination laws to ensure access under non-discrimination laws.”

One year after driver’s death, little change: Winnipeg Local


Marking one year since Local 1505-Winnipeg, MB, member Irvine Jubal Fraser was tragically killed by a passenger on the job, a packed remembrance service was held and buses flashed “In memory of #521” Fraser’s badge numbers as a transit operator. The Local says progress in making transit drivers’ work environment safer has been slow. One driver said he doesn’t feel any safer heading to work now compared to a year ago. “I’ve been threatened myself on the job, but you do what you can. My family is definitely worried for me, scared for me. Every day I go to work and feel like you never know – today could be the day.”

The Dark Side of The Gig Economy


This past Monday morning, livery driver Doug Schifter tragically killed himself in front of NYC City Hall, posting on Facebook that he did this in hopes of raising awareness of how ride hailing services have devastated taxi workers financially. In his post, Schifter said he had to work more than 100 hours a week just to survive, had lost his health insurance, racked up credit card debt and put the blame on mayors Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo for permitting so many cars to flood the streets of NYC. His story is representative of how Uber, Lyft and their competitors have inflicted serious economic hardship on taxis drivers in NYC and other cities leading to driver bankruptcies, foreclosures, eviction notices, homelessness and depression. It’s time we all recognize that Uber, Lyft and their competitors are exploiting and ruining hardworking people’s lives.

Worcester, MA, Local mobilizes riders in fight for transit funding

With the Worcester Regional Transit Authority rumored to be considering slashing service and jobs in the face of a $1 million budget deficit, Local 22-Worcester, MA, members aren’t sitting silent. The Local is mobilizing riders to join in the fight and formed the Funding for Public Transportation Committee. “I think that this is really the first time that I can remember that we have formed a committee to focus on gathering people together to try and get funding, and the reaction has been incredible,” said Local Business Agent Ken Kephart. “Our focus is to try to rally the people to say enough is enough, and call their elected officials and demand that they fully fund the RTAs.” Demonstrations and other actions are being considered to protest the governor’s budget.

Winnipeg Local calls for a review of flawed electronic fare card system

The City of Winnipeg has cut corners in adding its electronic fare card, Peggo, which is run on an outdated system, says Local 1505-Winnipeg, MB, in calling for a review and audit of Peggo. “Unfortunately, we warned about this quite some time ago … They purchased a system that was outdated,” said Local President Aleem Chaudhary. “These glitches were and are a daily problem.” The Local says riders adding money on the cards online or by phone can be delayed by 24-48 hours, and many riders board buses with a pre-paid card that doesn’t work.

Black History Month: Harriett Tubman, conductor of Underground Railroad

In recognition of Black History Month, ATU is remembering important people and events in the history of the civil rights movement and public transportation. This week we are remembering Harriett Tubman, who escaped slavery and became a leader in the abolitionist movement during the Civil War. Tubman risked her life to lead hundreds of slaves and their family members from the plantation system to freedom on an elaborate secret network of safe houses that is known as the Underground Railroad. In honor of her accomplishments, the U.S Treasury Department recently announced Tubman will be featured on the $20 bill to replace Andrew Jackson.

Nashville Local & Music City Riders United Demand Transit Equity

In recognition of Rosa Parks’ birthday and her fight for transit equity, Local 1235-Nashville, TN, members joined with Music City Riders United to demand better public transit for all. Their demands – better bus safety, improved training of maintenance workers and other improvements – come as residents will soon cast their vote on a new $9 billion transit plan proposed by Nashville’s Mayor. Local President Patrick Green points out the training deficiencies and the lack of personnel leads to bus delays and break downs, which happen every single day. “It’s not about us, It’s not just about the workforce here at this system. It’s about the entire community,” said Green.

Minneapolis hosted the most public transit-dependent game in Super Bowl history

The Super Bowl was a great game this year with the Philadelphia Eagles beating the New England Patriots. It also went off without a hitch thanks in part to Local 1005-Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, members playing a key role in safely transporting people to and from the game and events in the week before the game. Experts are saying Minneapolis hosted the most public transit-dependent Super Bowl ever because the stadium is located in downtown Minneapolis. The City’s light rail system took more than 20,000 fans to and from the game and the two of the starting points for light rail served as major security screening checkpoints to help alleviate security-related bottlenecks at the stadium.
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