CATS agree to meet, ATU ends protests


?Local?1546?members employed by the Capital Area Transit System (CATS) in Baton Rouge, LA, called off their protests against CATS after two days of demonstrations persuaded management to meet with the local on issues of concern including a breach of contract.ATU and the bus system agreed to sit down informally in the coming weeks to try to resolve the workers? grievances including management?s proposal to hire 25 additional part-time workers.

?Local President Larry Patin said his concerns about working conditions, changing policies and going three years without renegotiating the labor contract persist, but he said he feels management is now willing to address those issues.?Read more.

?ATU iPad2 winner announced, stay connected for your chance to win

Congratulations to John “Jack” Miller of Local?741, London, ON, winner of an ATU iPad 2.

Don?t miss out! More winners of an ATU iPad2 and ATU Jacket will be announced soon. For your chance to win and more importantly to get the latest ATU news and action alerts sign up at? To enter the contest, simply provide your e-mail, local number and postal code. If you have already submitted your email you?re still signed up for the contest, simply click ?Skip and Continue to Website.?

Canadian public transit ridership reaches new record high

Canadian public transit riders set a new record in 2011, taking 1.99 billion trips ? an increase of 4.6%, according to the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA).

?This surge represents the largest single year-over-year ridership increase in the last decade, with the addition of well over 86 million new trips,? reports CUTA, adding that ridership increased in all transit modes.

The growth in ridership highlights the need for infrastructure improvement.?A recent CUTA survey reveals that Canada needs to invest $53 billion in transit infrastructure over the next five years. About three-quarters of that can be drawn from existing funding, but the remaining $13.5 billion must come from new or additional sources.??Read more.

Guarded optimism on long-term transportation bill

Prospects for a deal for a long-term transportation bill brightened somewhat this week as key House and Senate lawmakers have pointed to positive progress on their negotiations.

ATU continues work to ensure the final legislation includes measures from the Senate bill that help local transit systems maintain service and avoid fare increases in order to create jobs and deal with the mass transit crisis.

The Conference committee?s top negotiators, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. John Mica (R-FL), issued a rare joint statement on their progress. ?The conferees have moved forward toward a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a highway reauthorization bill. Both House and Senate conferees will continue to work with a goal of completing a package by next week,” the statement said.?Read more.

Binghamton, NY, Transit makes improvement, but are fare hikes ahead?

New York?s Binghamton County transit riders have seen a lot of changes since January, and more are on the way.?The busiest routes will now depart every 40 minutes instead of every 45.?A new 9:00 p.m. bus route will begin, and extended routes will cover more streets by request.

Broome?s county executive says that maintenance is the next item to be addressed. Thirty of BC?s 44 buses need repair.?While there haven?t been any fare hikes, yet, two public hearings about an increase have been scheduled.?Read more.

ATU supports one-day strike by London bus workers, pledge your support now

ATU showed support for London bus workers who staged a one-day strike today to demand the same Olympic wages that virtually every other public transport worker in London has won through negotiations.

?I want to express the solidarity of all of our members with striking London bus workers,? declared President Hanley.? ?Private bus operators are expected to bring in millions in additional revenue from the projected extra passengers during the games and they have no intention of sharing it with the drivers who will ensure fans get to and from the events safely, securely and on time.??Read full statement.

The workers are asking for the pay raise as compensation for the increased pressure they face during the games as an estimated 800,000 more people are expected to be using London buses. Unite, the union representing these bus workers, says the 21 private bus operators are still refusing to enter into genuine and meaningful negotiations despite collectively posting over $2 billion in profits according to their latest annual accounts.

Please send an email to support the bus workers’ demand by sending a message to the Mayor of London and the private bus operators by?clicking here.

Richland County, SC, may see transit Penny Tax on Nov. ballot

A penny tax that could help fund the Richland County, SC, bus system and improve roadways could be on the county ballot in November.?The levy would bring the county sales tax to 8 cents.

ATU and the SC Progressive Network turned out dozens of bus and DART riders this week to press the county council to designate that 33% of the penny be allocated to public transit. The council gave second reading to a proposal that funds public transit at 25%, with 71% to roads and 4% to pathways.

For many residents who spoke, a community without a bus system ? or even one with the permanent cutbacks they have now ? is not somewhere they want to live. One woman who uses a walker says ?I?m walking home from WA Perry to Five Points because there?s no bus system. I can?t get to church on Sundays because there?s no bus system.??Read more.


London’s red bus drivers go on strike seeking $780 Olympic bonus


Olivia Harris / Reuters

Bus drivers stand on a picket line near the West Ham Bus Garage in east London on Friday.

By ITV News and staff

Thousands of London bus drivers went on strike Friday, demanding a bonus of $780 for working during next month?s Olympic games.

The public transit authority, Transport for London, said two-thirds of the capital?s 8,000 red buses were off the road on Friday due to the action.

With just over a month to go before millions of athletes and visitors arrive for the games, union leaders have issued a string of demand for extra payments.

Underground train drivers have already secured a bonus of up to $1,326 ? in addition to overtime payments ? while workers in the Docklands Light Railway system near the games site have negotiated a payment of up to $1,482.

?Transport unions have the Mayor, ministers and the Games organizers over a barrel,? Tony Travers, of the London School of Economics,?wrote in the Evening Standard newspaper. ?No Olympics in history have been as dependent on public transport as London 2012. Indeed, a vow to get spectators to and from events by trains, Tubes and buses was a key element in the bid.?

National Aboriginal Day in Canada

Canada?s National Aboriginal Day is annually held on June 21 to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of the nation?s Aboriginal peoples. There are three Aboriginal groups in Canada ? the First Nations, Inuit and M?tis peoples.

What do people do?

Canada?s National Aboriginal Day gives many people the chance to learn more about Aboriginal people and their contributions towards the country?s development and progress. First Nations, M?tis and Inuit people have the opportunity to showcase their cultures and achievements throughout Canada on this day.

National Aboriginal Day events are held in every region across Canada. Activities and events include (but are not limited to):

  • Summer solstice festivals.
  • Barbecue fundraisers.
  • Social networking gatherings with traditional and contemporary music, dance and singing.
  • Sacred fire extinguishing ceremonies.
  • Traditional feasts, which may include fry bread and moose stew.
  • The cutting of a cake to honor National Aboriginal Day.

National Aboriginal Day in Canada gives people of all walks of life the opportunity to celebrate and share knowledge about the Aboriginal peoples? values, customs, languages, and culture.

Public life

National Aboriginal Day is a paid holiday for employees in the Northwest Territories, except those in the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association (NWTTA). It is not a statutory holiday in other parts of Canada. Traffic and parking conditions may be affected in areas where there are large celebrations to commemorate the day.


The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal peoples: Indians (First Nations), Inuit and M?tis. Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

Many people have pushed for a national day to recognize and celebrate Canada?s Aboriginal peoples and cultures prior to 1996. For example, in 1982 the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for June 21 to be National Aboriginal Solidarity Day. In 1995 the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended for a National First Peoples Day to be designated. The Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal peoples.

Canada?s governor general proclaimed the first National Aboriginal Day in 1996. In cooperation with Aboriginal organizations, the Canadian government chose June 21 for National Aboriginal Day because it was on or near the?June solstice. Many of Canada?s Aboriginal peoples celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day for many generations. National Aboriginal Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the unique achievements of First Nations, M?tis and Inuit in fields as diverse as agriculture, the environment, business and the arts.

Note:?Any mention of summer in this article refers to summer in the northern hemisphere. Moreover, wishes to thank Indian and Northern Affairs Canada for the background information regarding National Aboriginal Day.

ATU teams up to launch Americans for Transit(A4T) to boost rider organizing

?To continue ATU’s efforts to build coalitions with riders and transit advocates to fight for public transportation across the country, ATU has joined with Good Jobs First to launch Americans for Transit (A4T), a new non-profit to create, strengthen and unite transit rider groups.

“Transit is a major social justice issue of our day,” said Larry Hanley, ATU International President and Chair of the A4T board, about the new group. “Ridership is the highest in decades, but riders have suffered the worst wave of fare hikes and service cuts in post-war history. These are tax hikes imposed on the working poor, plain and simple. Americans need better, affordable transit service. The ATU and Americans for Transit will work to make that happen by organizing more riders, workers and advocates to fight for public transit.”

Americans for Transit is the latest response by ATU and GJF to the nation’s growing transit crisis. The new organization’s roots come from ATU and GJF staging two community-labor “boot camps” in 2010 to train grassroots groups and local union leaders in 95 cities on how to organize riders; and publishingTransit Rider Organizing: A How-To Manual?that compiles eight case studies of winning campaigns, catalogs best practices, and provides the first-ever national directory of grassroots rider groups.

Andrew Austin, longtime field director at the Transportation Choices Coalition in Washington State, was named the first executive director of A4T.?”Andrew stood out because of his terrific track record,”? said Greg LeRoy, GJF executive director and A4T secretary-treasurer. “He values local community organizing, is savvy with social media, and has a sophisticated grasp of transit policy.”?Learn more.

New Canadian director elected




?It?s in my blood,? says newly-elected Canadian Director Stu Litwinowich, as he describes how he feels about the ATU and his new post.?Litwinowich will be taking over for Stan Dera, who is retiring, after serving over two years in that position.

International President Hanley offered congratulations to the new director, adding, ?Stu brings a wealth of experience and accomplishment to this important work.?I look forward to working with him on issues of national and international importance.??Hanley also expressed thanks to Dera who he said, ?did an outstanding job as director during a difficult time of transition.?

Litwinowich has been a member of Local?569-Edmonton, AB since 1988 when he was hired as a bus operator.?He served the union as shop steward and Canadian Council representative before he was elected president in 2008.

Litwinowich will encourage coalition-building with other unions and like-minded groups to fight for better public transit.?Other priorities include organizing school bus drivers, making sure that smaller local officers get the education they need, and pursuing passage of the bill in Parliament that would make it a federal crime to attack a transit worker.

Stay connected and win an ATU jacket or iPad2

Don?t miss out! More winners of an ATU iPad2 and ATU Jacket will be announced soon. For your chance to win and more importantly to get the latest ATU news and action alerts sign up at? To enter the contest, simply provide your e-mail, local number and postal code. If you have already submitted your email you?re still signed up for the contest, simply click ?Skip and Continue to Website.?

Teacher for a day: Local 689 President talks unions with DC students

Today?s young people need to learn about the importance of labor unions in our society. Local?689?President Jackie Jeter did just that when she visited with high school students at Chavez Public Charter High School for Public Policy in Washington, DC.

The 9th?grade students are taking a class to study issues involving public transportation in Washington, DC and nationally, with a focus on safety, access, and affordability for different groups of citizens. The students will be visiting Local 689 offices next week to hear from other officers and members, and also plan a community project on public transportation.

ATU member Victor Torres elected State House Rep. in Florida

Victor M. Torres,?1596-Orlando, FL, will become the next State House Representative of Orange County’s 48th district in Florida. An ATU Latino Caucus Executive Board member, Torres won the primary and is running unopposed in the November election.

Torres said about being elected, “It is indeed humbling to learn that I will be serving the people of the 48th district in the Florida Legislature. I pledge to continue my advocacy on behalf of Florida’s working class families and provide constituent services that exceed even the highest expectations. My district will have a tireless Representative who will always remember, that, too often, too many are left behind. We will be changing that in the next legislative session.”? The ATU wished Torres the best of luck in office.

TriMet kills Free Rail Zone, increases fares, cuts service

Life just got more expensive for Portland?s cash-strapped and transit-dependent riders after TriMet’s board unanimously approved a plan that one opponent called “economic warfare.”?The plan ended a Free Rail Zone in downtown Portland, increased fares by as much as $8, and reduced $1.1 million in services, eliminating nine lines, among other cuts.

The vote came after months of budget revisions and outreach that resulted in more than 16,000 comments from the public. As the board prepared to vote, rider and transit advocates gathered near the TriMet’s Southeast Portland headquarters angrily chanting “Don’t throw riders under the bus!” and “No more hikes!”.?Read more.

Netroots workshop video: Saving Public Transportation


ATU President Hanley joined Local?618?President Paul Harrington and other transit advocates in Providence, RI, to participate in a panel discussion ?Saving Public Transportation: A Matter of Social Justice? at Netroots Nation, a gathering of the nation?s top bloggers and next generation progressive leaders.?Watch video.

The lively discussion focused on how transit systems around the country?from Oakland to Detroit?face service cuts and fare increases at a time when public transportation is more necessary than ever for both our economic and environmental sustainability. Hanley and Good Jobs First?s Greg LeRoy discussed how ATU is building coalitions with riders and even transit systems in the fight to save and expand public transportation.

Mississauga bus driver suspended for washroom break (YYZ)

Mississauga Transit is being accused of violating a bus driver?s human rights after the transit worker was suspended for five days for delaying service by taking a washroom break.

The driver had to stand in line for about seven minutes behind two other bus drivers at the single washroom designated for bus drivers at the Meadowvale Town Centre.

He then spent about seven minutes in the stall, after which he went directly back to his bus to continue work, according to union president Nicholas Bye.

A passenger complained about the delay, saying the driver failed to explain the holdup.

But Bye said it is an invasion of privacy to expect bus drivers to tell riders they?re going to the washroom.

?They didn?t discipline him for going to the washroom. He took too long to go,? he said, adding that there is no formal washroom break policy at Mississauga Transit.

?This issue of the washroom has never come up before. This is the first time we?ve had a driver disciplined for using the washroom,? said Bye.

In a prepared statement, the city said it ?does not agree with the manner in which the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1572 has characterized the nature of the discipline in this case.

?The City of Mississauga’s practice with respect to washroom breaks for transit operators is clear. Employees are permitted to use washroom facilities en route as required provided passenger safety is not placed at risk in the process.?

The statement said the city would not discuss the specific case, but said, ?washroom facilities are provided at the end of most routes and recovery time is built in to operator schedules so as to minimize the impact upon service for customers.?

Bye said there?s a long-standing issue for the transit system in finding rest stops along bus routes.

TTC drivers are allowed to stop their buses to use the washroom, said spokesman Brad Ross.

Formal breaks depend on the route or the shift, he said.

But, said Ross, ?If somebody has an upset stomach and nature calls ? what we do ask is our operators communicate with our customers.?

Courtesy of The Star


Info on the International Jazz Festival, affected routes 29 and 99, starting Thursday June 14-23 2012, and also The Manitoba Marathon 2012;?beginning?on Sunday June 17, 2012, Routes affected 60, 160, 170, 66, 75, Dart 101, that includes Polo Park wich also will be affected routes 20, 24, 66 and 79, Wolseley and Misericordia areas 10 and 17 and?finally OBN and OBS that will affect 16, 18 and 60. ?Read more

877 – Manitoba Marathon 2012 – Revised

878 – TD winnipeg International Jazz Festival