ATU gears up. Are you “IN”?

As part of ATU?s ?I?m In? campaign, International Vice Presidents have been conducting political and mobilization trainings with ATU members over the past few months to gear up for the 2012 elections and beyond. These training are critical to developing ATU activists, to mobilize member volunteers, and build coalitions with riders to elect pro-transit and labor friendly candidates. If you haven?t had the opportunity to attend one of these exciting training more are being scheduled.

ATU will be anchoring our political efforts for the 2012 election in Cleveland and Denver ? two critical cities in the all-important swing states. This week leaders from Local 268-Cleveland and Local 1001- Denver participated in intensive strategic planning to begin to develop the campaign. Trainings for ATU leaders will be held in Cleveland and Denver in September to develop these election campaigns in these battleground states and across the country.

If you aren’t “IN” already, you should print out the “I’m In” sign from here, take a picture or video of yourself holding the sign in front of you, and let us know why you are “IN”. Once done, share them on the ATU Facebook page.
If you?ve already decided that you?re ?IN?, then it?s time to show how you can help in this critical campaign for the future of ATU, the labor movement, and all working people. Click here to tell us how you are ?IN?.

DOL explains dismissal of complaint involving 2010 ATU officer elections

The Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has just issued a statement on its reasons for dismissing a complaint that sought to have the government set aside the results of ATU?s 2010 election of international officers. The 12-page statement comes nearly a year after the DOL dismissed the charges.

Patricia Fox, chief of the division of enforcement for OLMS, rejected allegations that several different individuals including International President Larry Hanley and other top officers used ATU funds and/or equipment to campaign in violation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. Fox also dismissed allegations that union officers engaged in campaign activities while on union time. Read full article.

ATU demands investigation into Tampa driver assault

All too many ATU members can identify with a bus driver who is attacked. And some even know what it feels like when a battered driver tries to contact a dispatcher through an on-board call box and? nothing happens.

That?s what happened on July 19, when a rider assaulted HART bus operator Colin Brown after entering the bus and paying the fare, hitting him 20 times with her fist. Brown had to use his cell phone to reach the agency?s dispatch center. Emergency responders finally took him to the hospital where he was treated for a concussion and other injuries. Read more here.

With a deep concern for the safety of its members, Local 1593- Tampa along with the ATU International are demanding that the HART board ?immediately intervene and restore our confidence in being able to perform our duties in a safe work environment.?

ATU and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) continue to address the issue of attacks on transit worker through a joint committee that?s working hard to find ways to protect transit workers.

?Last month a Los Angeles bus driver was shot to death while on duty. A New Jersey bus operator was stabbed seven times. Lower profile offenses such as spitting and verbal abuse are becoming part of the job,? ATU President Larry Hanley said. ?The public is also at-risk. Transit agencies must put the safety and security of their operators and passengers first.? Read full statement.

America’s Workforce Radio features President Hanley

Listen to International President Larry Hanley sound off on a variety of issues, including his start in labor movement, ATU?s recent successful campaigns, the importance of building rider coalitions to fight back, and the new organization Americans for Transit on the Labor Radio?s show America?s Workforce in Cleveland. President Hanley describes his first picket line experience, common sense proposals that increased New York?s MTA ridership, and how mass transportation got the short end of the stick in Congress? transportation bill. Listen to the full interview here.

Local 1577 wins award

Congratulations to Local 1577 ? Palm Beach for winning the United Way of Palm Beach County?s ?Outstanding Labor Participation in a Workplace Campaign.? Their efforts nearly doubled the number of donors to the cause, and the overall campaign was up an incredible 64% over last year, with union participation increasing United Way of Palm Beach County donations by 359%. Keep up the great work, Local 1577! Read More.

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.

“I’m In” campaign gains momentum

From Tampa to Staten Island to Atlanta to Chicago to St. Catharines, ON, to Los Angeles and countless other cities, ATU members across North America have joined the campaign to elect pro-transit and pro-Labor candidates and build a stronger ATU and labor movement. Are you in?
All ATU members should download and print out the “I’m In” sign from here, take a picture or video of yourself holding the sign in front of you and let us know why you are “IN”. Once done, share them on the ATU Facebook page. Please share this with all of your fellow members.
If you?ve already decided that you?re ?IN?, then it?s time to show how you can help in this critical campaign for the future of ATU, the labor movement and all working people.

Detroit bus cuts reveal depth of national transit crisis

“I’m hurting. A lot of times buses don’t come around, and when they do, they pass you by. I can’t do nothing but wait and read and weep and pray,” ? wheelchair-bound Detroit resident George Jones, 57, who relies on public transit to get around.
Detroit has lost half of its bus service since 2005 thanks to the financial crisis the city has faced due to the recession. Mayor Dave Bing recently announced he planned to eliminate more than 2,500 city employees, including transportation workers, and slash the budgets of city agencies. The Detroit transportation department’s budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year was reduced from $53 million to $43 million.

Public transportation systems in Pittsburgh, Boston and other cities are suffering similar fates. TheHuffington Post takes an in-depth look at the effect the mass transit crisis is having on cities across the U.S. Not surprisingly, those impacted the most are the poor and disabled, and workers who clock out late at night, when transportation options are already limited.
ATU President Larry Hanley summed it up, “With the financial crisis, cities have less revenue. Their tax bases are dwindling, and they take it out on transit.” Read more.
Hundreds rally for locked out Moncton transit workers
With the lock out of Codiac Transpo workers entering its third week, hundreds rallied at Moncton City Hall in a show of support for the 90 drivers, mechanics and service workers, who are members of Local 1290.The city refused to accept two different proposals from representatives, while it offered even less than it had offered before. The local wants to go to third-party binding arbitration and has already filed a complaint with the labour board contending the city bargained in bad faith. Read more.
Another bus driver hero
NYC bus driver Steven St. Bernard was coming home to Brooklyn after work when he saw a young girl standing outside on a window air conditioning unit on the fourth floor of his apartment complex. Recognizing she was going to fall, St. Bernard quickly sprung into action and positioned himself right below her. He ended up catching the girl, who is autistic, and she came away unscathed. In recounting those horrifying moments St. Bernard said, ?Please let me catch her, please let me catch her, that?s all I could say. Let me catch the little baby, that?s all.? Read more.
ATU, his family, friends and neighbors are calling St. Bernard a hero. His response ?No. A hero is a sandwich. I just saw a kid, that?s it.? If you know of other stories of ATU heroes please send them toATU Communications.
Meet Mr. 1%
The planned cuts to public transportation in Pittsburgh scheduled for September could be far more devastating then officials are predicting according to the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group. They will cost the public far more than the $60 million that is needed to avert them. The higher costs to transit riders who lose their service and increased congestion for all who drive could add up to between $328 million and $405 million.
“We’ve just finally turned the corner in Pittsburgh in terms of attractiveness to the outside world,” said Mr. Chris Sandvig, the group?s regional policy director. “Something like these service cuts could send us back in the other direction.” Read more.
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,

Olympic strike averted as bus drivers accept deal

London bus workers have relented and accepted an Olympic bonus offered to them, instead of going ahead with the planned strike on 24th July.

Thousands of bus workers took part in a strike last month, and a further strike was planned at the end of this month in the run up to the games.

Employers then offered a deal that would see drivers get a ?577 bonus in recognition of their increased workload during the Olympics.

In ballots held on Tuesday 71% voted in favour of accepting the bonus in exchange for working during the games.

Peter Kavanagh, London secretary for Unite, said, ?After almost a year-long campaign, bus workers finally have a fair deal which recognises their contribution to keeping London moving over the Olympics?.

Transport for London?s MD of surface transport welcomed the news, saying that whilst pay issues should remain between companies and employees, ?TfL and the mayor sought to bring Unite and the bus companies together and we are pleased that they have now resolved this dispute?.

Bus driver’s lucky save as girl plunges 10 metres

A New York bus driver has become a surprise hero after saving a seven-year-old girl who accidentally fell three storeys from a Brooklyn apartment building.

“I just said ‘Please, let me catch her, lord, please let me catch her,” Stephen St Bernard told local NY1 television about Monday’s rescue in the Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighbourhood.

A video of the incident taken on a mobile phone and broadcast by the channel showed the girl standing on an air conditioning unit outside her apartment window more than 10 metres from the ground.

Hero … Stephen St Bernard.
Amid cries from people watching the scene unfold from the ground, the girl fell into the arms of St Bernard.

“I ran over there hoping that she wouldn’t fall. When I got there, she was still standing there and I just positioned myself,” he said.

“When she lost her balance, I caught her. She has no scratches or anything. She’s OK.”

St Bernard, who said he cried after saving the girl, suffered a torn tendon in his arm from the impact.

The girl has been identified as Keyla McCree. Her mother had left her alone in the room moments before, according to the New York Post.

Hamilton bus drivers under increasing risk of attack: union

Those assaults number among the most serious of 84 incidents reported by HSR bus drivers over the last three years, according to the union for city transit workers.

About half of reported assaults are verbal threats, said Eric Tuck, vice-president of Local 107 of the Amalgamated Transit Union.
?The serious physical assaults used to be pretty rare, but in recent years we seem to be seeing them more and more,? said Tuck, pointing to a driver who was dragged off his bus and beaten by a group of teens two weeks ago. Police have laid four charges in that case.

RELATED: Four charged in weekend HSR driver assaults

?We take the threats very seriously, too, because it?s not like you can hide ? If you drive the same route again and again, people know where to find you.?

The city listed 84 assaults reported by bus drivers over the past three years in response to a Freedom of Information request, but wouldn?t hand over specific incident reports because of a labour relations hearing slated for September. Access-to-information law allows the city to withhold records that will be used in court or an arbitration hearing.

Tuck said 31 incidents reported last year ranged from spitting to coffee-throwing to punching.

?It could be anything from a book (a rider is) holding to a cup of coffee to a phone,? he said. ?One driver was hit with a coil of cable someone was carrying.?

The attacks helped spur a union grievance that will be heard in a Sept. 7 hearing. The union will ask an arbitrator to order the city to beef up the bus budget, arguing riders blame drivers for poor service.

OPINION: There?s no rationalizing attacks on bus drivers

Tuck said many of the physical confrontations involve youth. He said the union is talking about the possibility of a targeted bus safety campaign in local schools.

City transit director Don Hull said he is gathering detailed statistics on crimes against bus drivers that will be shared with council in the next two weeks, but added the annual number of assaults reported is ?fairly static.?

Hull pointed to fare disputes, not poor service, as the main trigger.

?We?re spending more time on conflict avoidance training for all of our drivers,? he said.

Many transit agencies in large communities have installed cameras on buses to discourage violence, including Waterloo Region and London. Some cities are also experimenting with shatterproof driver ?shields.?

Hull said Hamilton is evaluating the experiences of other cities with bus cameras and a capital request to outfit the city?s 225 buses could come in 2013 or 2014.

Eric Gillespie, who heads Grand River Transit, said Waterloo Region budgeted about $1.7 million over two years to install cameras on 218 buses. His drivers reported 12 assaults and threats last year.

TRANSIT: Assaults on bus drivers in 2011
London (pop. 366,000) ? 8
Waterloo (pop. 553,000) ? 12
Mississauga (pop. 713,400) ? 25
Hamilton (pop. 520,000) ? 31
Ottawa (pop. 883,000) ? 52
[Municipal reporting]
Two drivers were physically hauled off of their buses.
Here’s a breakdown of assaults against Winnipeg Transit drivers between 2000 and 2012:
Total: 409 assaults
Several routes saw a significant number of assaults, including:
Route 16 Selkirk-Osborne: 46 assaults
Route 11 Portage-Kildonan: 43 assaults
Route 15 Sargent-Mountain: 31 assaults
Route 18 North Main-Corydon: 29 assaults, including nine in 2011
Route 14 Ellice-St. Mary’s: 21 assaults
Yearly breakdown of transit assaults:
2000: 10
2001: 10
2002: 18
2003: 17
2004: 19
2005: 17
2006: 30
2007: 45
2008: 40
2009: 71 *year transit included threats against drivers and drivers being spat upon
2010: 56
2011: 63
2012, January to March: 23
— source: Winnipeg Transit bus operator assault information


TORONTO – A woman who yelled racial slurs and pepper sprayed a Toronto public transit driver and three others on a bus over a transfer has been jailed for 46 days.

Dana Chobatru, 29, of Toronto, was also sentenced to 18-months of house arrest last week after pleading guilty to four charges of assault with a weapon, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) said.

Chobatru instigated the violence that ultimately lead to her conviction in a dispute over a transfer in July last year as she boarded a bus.

“The woman yelled racial slurs at the bus driver, pepper sprayed him as well as three customers who came to help the employee,” the TTC said in a release. “The suspect fled the bus but was arrested a short time later by Toronto Police.”

The transit company said two employees are assaulted every day, ranging from punching, slapping and spitting, to threats of physical harm or death.

TTC fare collector William Anderson, 52, was shot in the neck and shoulder last February after a bandit armed with a revolver demanded cash. When Anderson refused to hand over the money, the suspect walked away, then turned and fired three rounds.

Anderson has since physically recovered.

The TTC offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in that case. It’s the first time the transit commission has offered a cash reward.
Courtesy of Sun News

Bus drivers ready for life in the Olympic lanes!

Bus driver Liam Madine. INPT28-230Bus driver Liam Madine. INPT28-230

SEVEN Ulsterbus drivers based at the Craigavon depot are among the dozens off to London to race along the ?Olympic? lanes. But they won?t be vying for gold, silver and bronze against the best in the world in the various stadia.

It will be their job to ferry the various competitors and official various points in the capital to the races, field events, swimming pool, archery and all the rest. And they will be using special bus lanes en route to speed their journey.

They are – Gareth Morgan, Liam Madine, Martin Farron, Lindon McNelly, Marcus McCready, Dermot Stewart and James Kellett.

Four of the seven are already in London, learning the various routes to and from the Olympic stadia, to make sure they deliver the people concerned in plenty of time. Ulsterbus are also providing a number of top-line buses for the big show. The other three fly out today (Friday).

Said Craigavon manager Randall Roderick, ?It?s a great honour for the depot and for the drivers. But I have to say it coincides with a particular busy time for Ulsterbus, and we?ll be using every vehicle available over the Twelfth period.

?But we?ll manage. These are seven from a pool of about 80 drivers in our area, and with the readjusting of holidays, we?ll manage well.?

Driver Liam Madine said, ?We?re really looking forward to it – something different. But it will be hard work, having to learn the routes and working a 12-hour shift six days a week. I doubt if we?ll receive any Olympic tickets on our day off, but it will be a new experience for us all, and the word is we?ll be driving luxury buses.?

The Craigavon Seven are among 140 drivers going to London with 90 buses.?

London calling for bus drivers

Brian Souter, chief executive of Stagecoach.Brian Souter, chief executive of Stagecoach.

SEVENTEEN local Stagecoach employees are heading to London to play a key role in supporting the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

?The drivers from the Aberhill depot will join over 2600 of their colleagues to help provide transport for athletes and members of the media throughout the Games, after the transport operator was selected by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to deliver one of the largest transport contracts for the event.

With more than 14,700 athletes and 21,000 media representatives heading to London, for the Olympic Games from July 27 to August 12 and the Paralympic Games from August 29 to September 9, the drivers from Aberhill will be temporarily based at depots in West Ham and Beckton

Each operator region will be supporting the Games by sending drivers, with Stagecoach also sending around 500 vehicles.

Stagecoach Group chief executive Sir Brian Souter said: ?The London 2012 Games are a once in a lifetime opportunity for our people to be involved in a global event on this scale.

?We are proud to be involved in the Games and look forward to helping make the event a success for spectators and athletes alike.?