When Mother Nature unleashed her wrath with Hurricane Sandy, ATU members stepped up ? as we always do ? to help our brothers and sisters impacted by donating the?ATU Disaster Relief Fund.
Now, it’s happened again.
What may have been the worst tornado in history savaged an area around Oklahoma City. The devastating wind and rocketing debris wreaked havoc, shattering houses and flattening supposedly solid school buildings. The cyclone left hundreds injured, and at least 24 residents ? including nine schoolchildren ? dead in its wake.
Unfortunately, homes and property of ATU brothers and sisters and their families in the area were destroyed and damaged, as well. We are still hearing reports as the clean up continues.
When a crisis hits, ATU members do what they do every day on the job, in their communities, and in their places of worship. They just help out. You can help your brothers and sisters who have been hurt by this year?s tornados by contributing to the ATU Disaster Relief Fund.
Donations can be made online by visiting?www.atu.org, or by mailing a check to:Amalgamated Transit Union?Disaster Relief Fund,?5025 Wisconsin, Ave., N.W.?Washington, DC? 20016,?Attn: Lawrence J. Hanley
U.S. Contributors:?Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent provided by law.
Disaster relief grants available to Union Plus participants
Union Plus Disaster Relief Grants of $500 are available to help participants in the Union Plus Credit Card, Insurance or Mortgage programs who are facing financial hardship due to the tornado that struck the Oklahoma City area. More information is available at?UnionPlus.org/Disaster.
Transit support crosses party lines in Washington state
As ATU teams with transit advocates to fight proposed transit cuts in King County, glimmers of bipartisan light emerged in Olympia, WA when at least three Republican state legislators rallied at the capitol with citizens advocating gas tax and fee increases to pay for roads, ferries, mass transit and other improvements.
The turnaround has come about because the three GOP lawmakers want to pay for an extension of state Route 167 from Payallup to the Port of Takoma with some of the transportation money.
Democrats such as the chair of the House Transportation Committee, Gov. Jay Inslee, and U.S. Rep. Denny Heck want it approved in the Washington Legislature this year. ?State Rep. Hans Zeiger, R, who voted against gas tax increase last year says, ?We are so close to getting this passed.??Read more
?Atlanta local calls out MARTA on safety
Local?732-Atlanta, GA, warned MARTA riders of safety concerns in the city?s transit system in an oped published in?Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Local President Curtis Howard charges that the agency has ignored their warnings about safety problems, and ?is behaving very much like private companies that seek to take over public properties: It is skimping on safety, putting unsafe buses on the road and ignoring its own safety rules, hoping that no one will notice.?
Howard revealed that ?Nearly 30 buses per day have problems that should have been ? could have been ? addressed before the buses posed a danger.?
Local 732 sent a MARTA a 300-page comprehensive complaint to 30 city, state and federal agencies and our elected officials. MARTA?s General Manager Parker?s response was to implore ?ATU to send a joint letter to the Federal Transit Administration saying that the ATU and MARTA were working together to fix the problems.?
?Since that would have been a lie,? Howard writes, ?I rejected Mr. Parker?s request as too late, a possible backdoor attempt at a safety cover-up. We have tried repeatedly to get MARTA to address these serious concerns. Sadly, we have been met with silence.?
In a piece published with ATU?s Parker acknowledged ?the need to do more to improve the overall reliability, appearance and safety of our buses, trains and Mobility vehicles.?
Unfortunately, because all of this is taking place against the backdrop of a campaign by state legislators to privatize MARTA, it may be difficult for the local to trust the agency enough to work with it on any joint endeavor.?Read more
Milwaukee members join ?Fight for 15?
Local?998-Milwaukee, WI, was out in force recently in a demonstration in support of the organizing campaign of fast food and retail workers in their city.?The ?Fight for 15? drive is a nationwide effort initiated by the Service Employees to force low-wage employers like McDonald?s to raise worker compensation to $15/hr.
At left, Local President Al Simonis and Financial Secretary Pat Clemmons join the rally in front of Milwaukee County Court House.?Read more
The fight for a living wage is also being waged with rolling strikes and marches in Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Pennsylvania, and New York.
Portland local appeals decision against open bargaining
Local?757-Portland, OR, is awaiting the results of its appeal of a decision by a Multnomah County judge that state law does not require collective bargaining to be open to the public. The legal dispute is just the latest in a series of disagreements between the local and Tri-Met, Portland?s transit agency.
The ruling, however, doesn?t prevent the two sides from inviting whomever they agree on to observe the negotiations.?But Tri-Met is attempting to control that list with a set group of newspapers, radio and TV stations, the labor press and at least one Portland transit blogger.
Local President Bruce Hansen says the local wants the proceedings to be open to all, accusing the agency of cherry-picking media outlets.
The local has also gone to the state Employment Relations Board to challenge an arbitrator?s imposition of a contract, by an arbitrator, that increases member health plan co-pays to 10%, among other increases.
The local?s last contract expired November 20.?ATU and the agency are not expected begin bargaining on a new contract until August at the earliest.?Read more
Not your father?s union song
The winner of the Canadian Labour Congress?s 2013 ?One Minute Message Contest? created a video that should appeal to a younger generation of workers than have been typically associated with the labour movement.?We think you?ll enjoy watching it.?View??