Archive for November, 2012

ATU STATEMENT ON THE RE-ELECTION OF PRESIDENT OBAMA

WASHINGTON, DC ? Larry Hanley, international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), released the following statement on the re-election of President Barack Obama.

?Working families across this great country have spoken with the re-election of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. It is time for our nation to move forward and continue the fight for economic and social justice for all Americans.

?Throughout our country?s economic crisis, politically divisive times and the bruising campaign, President Obama and Vice President Biden have stood for mass transit and with working families in the face of an all out assault on the middle class across the United States.

?We are proud of the role ATU members across the country played in an unprecedented campaign to mobilize transit riders to vote and elect pro-transit and pro-worker candidates like Tammy Duckworth, Elizabeth Warren, Chris Murphy, Tammy Baldwin and others. From Cleveland to Denver to Seattle to Jacksonville, over 10,000 of our brothers and sisters reached out to more than one million passengers at bus stops and transit centers.

?On behalf of 190,000 members of the Amalgamated Transit Union we? congratulate President Obama and Vice President Biden on this historic victory. We look forward to working together over the next four years to move our nation forward for all Americans.?

About the ATU

The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1892, the ATU today is comprised of over 190,000 members in 264 local unions spread across 44 states and nine provinces, including 3,000 workers at Greyhound Lines, Inc. Composed of bus drivers, light rail operators, maintenance and clerical personnel and other transit and municipal employees, the ATU works to promote transit issues and fights for the interests of its hard-working members.

NO SERIOUS MOTORCOACH REFORM CAN IGNORE INDUSTRY?S DRIVER OVERTIME ABUSES

Transit union says NTSB failure to address ?elephant in the room??will result in more tragic deaths, injuries??

Washington, DC ? While the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced bus driver fatigue among its most wanted safety concerns, no real reform can ignore the industry?s blatant abuse of overtime for drivers says the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents workers at Greyhound and other intercity bus companies.

?The NTSB recognized motorcoach driver fatigue as a serious problem in the industry,? said ATU International President Larry Hanley, ?but they ignored the ?elephant in the room? that is the real reason behind these tragic accidents that have taken so many lives.?

The elephant is the agency?s neglect to recognize that intercity bus operators are exempt from Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), overtime provisions, and many are forced to work second jobs during their so-called ?rest period? just to make ends meet. ?Unlike 80 percent of American workers covered under FLSA, bus drivers are not paid overtime for work over 40 hours per week.

?Federal government agencies, bus companies, and Members of Congress are partners in a conspiracy of silence about the real cause of driver fatigue, which is rooted in working conditions, wage rates, the absence of fair labor standards for intercity bus drivers,? says Hanley.

According to the ATU report?Sudden Death Overtime, which highlights the issue of intercity bus accidents, the NTSB estimates that 36 percent of motorcoach crash fatalities over the past decade have been due to driver fatigue. It is the number one cause of fatal accidents, far above road conditions (2 percent) or inattention (6 percent).

?The problem with the government analysis of this problem is that there is a vested interest in American politics in avoiding issues of working conditions, worker safety and anything that calls for corporate responsibility,? says Hanley.

The union says drivers are being blamed for these accidents as evidenced by last week?s conviction on four counts of involuntary manslaughter of the driver of the May 2011 Virginia motorcoach accident that took four lives.

?Not only has the government and the industry turned a blind eye to the real reasons for so many of these deadly crashes on our highways, but, the drivers in these accidents are scapegoats for an industry that has become a sweatshop on wheels,? says Hanley.

The union supported the?Driver Fatigue Prevention Act, sponsored the Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), which ensured drivers would get paid fairly for the work they put in above 40 hours per week, making them less inclined to work other jobs while pushing their bodies to the limit.

?The federal agencies, Congress and bus companies need to recognize that to deal with the problem of driver fatigue we need laws that would require intercity bus operators to abide by the same overtime rules governing the majority of American workers,? said Hanley. ?Extending these protections to intercity bus drivers is not only the right thing to do; it?s the safe thing to do for our riders and our drivers.?

About the ATU ?

The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1892, the ATU today is comprised of over 190,000 members in 264 local unions spread across 44 states and nine provinces, including 3,000 workers at Greyhound Lines, Inc. Composed of bus drivers, light rail operators, maintenance and clerical personnel and other transit and municipal employees, the ATU works to promote transit issues and fights for the interests of its hard-working members.

Moncton transit talks resume

Talks resumed Sunday to resolve a five-month lockout of Moncton’s municipal transit workers.

The breakthrough came after Monday’s council meeting, when the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union said he now backed an offer the union had earlier rejected.

On Sunday, city spokesman Paul Thomson said talks had resumed.

He called the union’s move “a positive step” that led both sides to resume negotiations.

“The membership has decided they would accept, and I would recommend, the offer of 2.75 over a term of five years. That is an offer the city already made on April 1. We feel it’s time to bring this to an end,” union head George Turpel said Monday.

Thomson says the two sides are the closest they’ve been to a resolution since the lockout started on June 27.

The Canadian Press

Trouble in BUSDRIVER.CA land.

I was asked this week by Transit Management to remove any bulletins that name or have phone numbers of City Employees due to privacy concerns and I have done so, if I have missed any please point these out to me so I can remove them.

You may have noticed that I have also tightened the security settings a bit to prevent just anybody from viewing the sites information contained within as well, I apologize for the extra effort this will cause the membership from getting the information they seek, but this only requires registering and logging in to retrieve the info they desire.

I have also blocked some organizations from viewing the site as they have no business doing so and this will allow some semblance of privacy for the members of this site from prying eyes, I will also be doing my best to verify that all current members and those wishing to join are Transit Employees and so would have access to the information anyways, thus no privacy issues should apply.

I have also changed the settings to try to stop various search engines from reading the site.

So please be patient as we work out a method to deliver the information that the Employees of Winnipeg Transit need without releasing information that could cause problems to other Transit Employees.

Remember that most of this information is also available on the ATU 1505 website.

Admin.

Ottawa bus drivers help teen whose phone was stolen

The story of an Ottawa teen getting his phone stolen on an OC Transpo bus will have a happy ending.

Fraser MacDonald?s 14-year-old son was alone on a 94 bound for downtown Ottawa Saturday when he was swarmed and his iPhone taken.

?It was his first ride downtown by himself, with a friend to do some shopping,? MacDonald said. ?To get a phone call like that, I was envisioning the worst.?

OC Transpo Driver helps with phone

Glen Cartier-Blackwell stopped his bus and helped a teen whose phone was stolen on board Saturday, Nov. 9, 2012.

It was then that driver Glen Cartier-Blackwell stopped the bus, helped the teens call police and took care of them until their parents arrived.

?I hope someone would if my child was in a similar situation,? he said. ?Being a parent obviously changes your perspective.?

OC Transpo drivers, who admit they get a bad rap at times, are now raising money to buy MacDonald?s son a new phone.

?He?s very, very touched,? Fraser said. ?He?s beside himself that they would do it.?

?It does tear at your heart strings and makes you feel good about the employees that we have in that organization,? said Diane Deans, head of Ottawa?s transit committee.

Cartier-Blackwell said he was just doing his job.

?It was personal for me, that?s my office when I?m driving,? he said. ?I obviously want to have a safe environment at all times.?

MacDonald said he?s more than grateful and tracked down Cartier-Blackwell?s phone number to personally say thanks.

?That OC Transpo cares about their passengers to the point that they would do something like that is incredible,? MacDonald said.

?To have the young boy?s father call me and say thank you, at the end of the day that means a lot,? Cartier-Blackwell said.

The teen didn?t want to appear on camera, as the suspects still haven?t been caught.

OC Transpo drivers have so far raised slightly more than $200 towards a new iPhone.

Read more:?http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-bus-drivers-help-teen-whose-phone-was-stolen-1.1032097#ixzz2COMnZ3im

Remembrance Day: Lest we forget

A day set aside to honour sacrifice

Remembrance Day

A woman places a poppy at a makeshift memorial to Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier following Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa, Nov. 11, 2006. (Tom Hanson/The Canadian Press)
A woman places a poppy at a makeshift memorial to Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier following Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa, Nov. 11, 2006. (Tom Hanson/The Canadian Press)On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians are asked to pause in memory of the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives in military service.

(Reuters)

Why the poppy?

The association between the poppy and war dates back to the Napoleonic wars, when a writer saw a field of poppies growing over the graves of fallen soldiers.

During the Battle of Ypres in 1915, Canadian Lt.-Col. John McCrae was inspired to write the poem In Flanders Fields on sighting the poppies growing beside a grave of a close friend who had died in battle.

The poem was a great inspiration in adopting the poppy as the Flower of Remembrance in Canada, France, the U.S, Britain and Commonwealth countries.

The first poppies were distributed in Canada in 1921.

Today the volunteer donations from the distribution of millions of poppies is an important source of revenue for the Royal Canadian Legion that goes toward helping ex-servicemen and women buy food, and obtain shelter and medical attention.

At public gatherings in Ottawa and around the country, Canadians?pay tribute?with two minutes of silence to the country’s fallen soldiers from the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Afghanistan conflict and peacekeeping missions.

(This?Veterans Affairs map?shows the gatherings for 2010.)

Also known as Veterans Day in the U.S., Remembrance Day was first held throughout the Commonwealth in 1919. It marks the armistice to end the First World War, which came into effect at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, a year earlier.

It isn’t a national holiday across Canada, but employees in federally regulated employees do get the day off. Several provinces and territories ? including Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon ? do observe a statutory holiday.

Canada’s military and the First World War

Two minutes before the armistice went into effect, at 10:58 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, Pte. George Lawrence Price was felled by a bullet. Price would become the final Commonwealth soldier ? and the last of more than 66,000 Canadians ? to be killed in the First World War

They died fighting at?Vimy Ridge, Hill 70,Passchendaele?and Ypres ? battles remembered for atrocious conditions and Canadian valour. In Ypres, Canadian soldiers were exposed to German gas attacks, yet continued to fight, showing amazing tenacity and courage in the face of danger.

In many ways, the identity of the young country was forged on those bloody battlefields.

About 650,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders (the province then still a colony of Britain) had served during the war, beginning in 1914. The last Canadian veteran of the conflict ??John Babcock?? died in February 2010 at the age of 109.

After Babcock’s passing, the federal government announced that it would hold a?national commemorative ceremony?on April 9 to honour all Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served during the First World War.

Second World War

Wreath laid by a nephew at his uncle’s grave at Canadian Cemetery No. 2 at Vimy Ridge.Between the declaration of the Second World War in September 1939 and the conflict’s end in 1945, Canadians fought in Dieppe, Normandy, the North Atlantic, Hong Kong, during the liberation of Italy, and in many other important air, sea and land campaigns.

In total, more than one million men and women from Canada and Newfoundland served in the army, air force and navy. More than 47,000 did not come home.

Canadian troops played a crucial role ? and made a mighty sacrifice ? in the 1944?D-Day?invasion and the Battle of Normandy, a major turning point in the war’s Atlantic campaign. More than 5,000 were killed in the land invasion in France.

The Canadian Army went on to play a significant part in the liberation of the Netherlands, which ended in 1945. The Dutch, having suffered through an extremely harsh winter, enthusiastically greeted the Canadians and forged a strong friendship between the two countries that lasts to this day.

Korea and Afghanistan

Since the end of the Second World War, Canadians have taken part in dozens of United Nations peacekeeping missions around the globe, from Cyprus and Haiti to Bosnia and Somalia. Troops have seen active combat as well.

In?Korea, 26,791 Canadians served during a conflict that raged between 1950 and 1953. The battles of Hill 355 and Hill 187, among others, saw Canadians fighting in swamps and rice fields, through torrential rain and snow, in the air and at sea.

Canada’s living veterans

War Surviving veterans Average age
WWI 0
WWII 143,700 87
Korea 12,000 78
All veterans* 593,700 54

* Regular Canadian Forces and primary reserves

Source: Veterans Affairs Canada

In 2003, Canada marked the 50th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice by unveiling the Monument to Canadian Fallen at Confederation Park in Ottawa. The words “We will never forget you brave sons of Canada” are inscribed at the base of the monument, which also contains the names of all Canadians who lost their lives in Korean War service or subsequent Korean peacekeeping service.

Canada has steadily increased its military involvement in?Afghanistan?since the Taliban regime fell in 2001.

By 2006, Canada had taken on a major role in the more dangerous southern part of the country as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

The fighting grew fiercer, and the casualty count rose. By November 2010, 152 Canadian military personnel had died in the country. One Canadian diplomat, one journalist and two Canadian aid workers have also been killed.

Orpington Hospital

Canada’s contribution to the First and Second World Wars is recognized and remembered all over the United Kingdom, especially around Nov. 11. Among the ceremonies in 2009 was the unveiling of a historic mural at a hospital in Orpington, Kent.

Soldiers injured in the first world war recover at the Ontario Military Hospital in Orpington, Kent, UK.Soldiers injured in the first world war recover at the Ontario Military Hospital in Orpington, Kent, UK.The mural commemorates a once-famous hospital that was paid for by the people of Ontario.

In 1915, the Ontario government donated $2 million to build a treatment centre for soldiers wounded on the battlefields of France. It was a huge amount of money for the time, and the hospital became one of the most up-to-date in the world.

Fully staffed by Canadian doctors and nurses, the Ontario Military Hospital treated more than 25,000 badly injured soldiers between 1916 and 1919. The majority of patients were Canadian, but the hospital also saved the lives of soldiers from Britain, Newfoundland (then a British colony), Australia and New Zealand. Thanks to state-of-the-art treatment, just 182 patients died ? less than one per cent of those admitted to the facility. Those who didn’t make it are buried in what’s know as “Canadian Corner,” a graveyard in nearby All Saints Church.

One of the Canadian doctors who worked at the hospital was Thomas McCrae, brother of John McCrae who wrote the poem?In Flanders Fields. Forced to deal with soldiers suffering from horrific facial injuries, Thomas McCrae was an early pioneer of plastic surgery in the Ontario Military Hospital.

The hospital also set up one of the first occupational therapy programs for shell-shocked survivors of trench warfare.

The hospital, renamed the 16th Canadian General Hospital during the war, was torn down in the 1960s. It has been replaced by the modern Orpington General Hospital which now boasts a Canada Wing, as well as Ontario, Quebec and Mackenzie King wards.

Hospital officials hope the new historic mural will be a constant reminder of Canadians’ sacrifice and life-saving service.

Another RTA Bus Driver Attacked By Passenger

What the hell is happening out there on the RTA routes? You’ve got to be thinking along the same lines. In just the last few months, we’ve seen a spat of incidents where passengers lash out at drivers ? and, of course, a driver giving it back in kind. But this week saw another violent episode on Cleveland’s public transit, which makes us wonder if this troubling list might soon trigger some kind of systemic action or reform.

According to Fox8, part-time bus driver Greg Vranekovic was steering the Number 15 bus down Union Avenue on the east side yesterday afternoon. A passengers slid on through the back exit; the driver, who’s only been on the job a few months, told the guy to pay.

As the passenger approached, he mimed like he was going to spit on Vranekovic. Once in close range, he started wailing on the driver’s face. When Fox8 caught up with the victim coming out of the hospital later that night, his nose was still bruised up from the attack.

This latest attack comes on the heals of RTA’s decision Tuesday to fire Artis Hughes, the driver who decked an attacking passenger in what’s become known as the Uppercut Seen Around the World. That attack, and the consequences, influenced Vranekovic’s situation.

 

?You gotta bring Brother Hughes back because this is becoming an epidemic on our drivers and it?s not fair to them to take this abuse while they?re out there doing their job,? said union representative William Nix, Sr. 

Vranekovic, who is part-time and has only been on the job a few months, says he actually thought twice about defending himself, because of the Artis Hughes case.

Obama?s Victory Speech

US President?Barack Obama?arrives on stage after winning the 2012 US presidential election November 7, 2012 in Chicago.

Thank you so much.

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.

It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.

I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time. By the way, we have to fix that. Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone, whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.

I just spoke with Gov. Romney and I congratulated him and?Paul Ryan?on a hard-fought campaign. We may have battled fiercely, but it?s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight. In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Gov. Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.

I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America?s happy warrior, the best vice president anybody could ever hope for,?Joe Biden.

And I wouldn?t be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago. Let me say this publicly: Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation?s first lady. Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes you?re growing up to become two strong, smart beautiful young women, just like your mom. And I?m so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now one dog?s probably enough.

To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics. The best. The best ever. Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning. But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together and you will have the lifelong appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley. You lifted me up the whole way and I will always be grateful for everything that you?ve done and all the incredible work that you put in.

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics that tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you?ll discover something else.

You?ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who?s working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. You?ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who?s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. You?ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse who?s working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.

That?s why we do this. That?s what politics can be. That?s why elections matter. It?s not small, it?s big. It?s important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won?t change after tonight, and it shouldn?t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America?s future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers. A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

We want our children to live in an America that isn?t burdened by debt, that isn?t weakened by inequality, that isn?t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. We want to pass on a country that?s safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this ? this world has ever known. But also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war, to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being.

We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant?s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag. To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To the furniture worker?s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president ? that?s the future we hope for. That?s the vision we share. That?s where we need to go ? forward. That?s where we need to go.

Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It?s not always a straight line. It?s not always a smooth path.

By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won?t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin.

Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you?ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.

Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We?ve got more work to do.

But that doesn?t mean your work is done. The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America?s never been about what can be done for us. It?s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That?s the principle we were founded on.

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that?s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that?s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that?s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That?s what makes America great.

I am hopeful tonight because I?ve seen the spirit at work in America. I?ve seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job. I?ve seen it in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back.

I?ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm. And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care.

I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd listening to that father?s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own. And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That?s who we are. That?s the country I?m so proud to lead as your president.

And tonight, despite all the hardship we?ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I?ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I?m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I?m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.

America, I believe we can build on the progress we?ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you?re willing to work hard, it doesn?t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn?t matter whether you?re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you?re willing to try.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We?re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

And together with your help and God?s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.

Bus drivers call off strike

The Transport Workers Union has called off any future strike action by 160 Hunter bus drivers.

The Transport Workers Union says it has called off any future strike action by scores of Hunter bus drivers for the time being.

Hunter Valley Buses met with the union yesterday after 160 drivers walked off the job over a number concerns including rostering and safety.

Newcastle branch secretary Mick Forbes says the company has agreed to work with the union to address the concerns.

He says while talks are progressing there will be no further strike action by drivers.

“We’ve always wanted to work through the issues with the company,” he said.

“The company have now realised that, so that’s the route that we’re taking – that’s what should be happening.

“Of course TWU members don’t want to cause disruptions to the public, particularly people with school children.

“So that’s the track that we’re taking and hopefully we will have some resolve.”

Protecting what matters! Local 113

A look to local 113

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