FROM ATU International President Larry Hanley

TO: ?????????????? All ATU members

RE:??????????????? Help Calgary area members devastated by floods

People say bad things happen in threes.

First it was the overwhelming destruction of Hurricane Sandy than it was the fierce tornadoes in Oklahoma and now raging floods have devastated the Calgary area.

It has been eight months of difficult hardship for some of our unlucky brothers and sisters. ?Many have lost their homes, suffered damage to their property and displaced their families. One Calgary member and his famly are still not back in their house and reported high water and mud in their basement and around their property.

In the past through your generosity and support for the ATU Disaster Relief Fund, we were able to assist most of those affected by Sandy and other natural disasters.

Now our brothers and sisters in the Calgary area are in need.

When a crisis hits, ATU members do what they do every day on the job, in their communities, in their places of worship. They don?t ask questions about when and where and how. They just help out.

We know it has been a difficult year for you and your family with the economic crisis continuing.? We ask that you please help out our brothers and sisters in the Calgary area by making a donation or even holding a fundraiser or other event to raise money to contribute to the ATU Disaster Relief Fund.? Any amount is helpful. ?You can safely and securely make an online donation?here?or checks/money orders can be sent to the address below:

Amalgamated Transit Union
Disaster Relief Fund
5025 Wisconsin, Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC? 20016
Attn: Lawrence J. Hanley

ATU praises Brazilian protests to roll back fare hikes, calls on US riders to act

Brazil protest IIBrazilian commuters, students and citizens demonstrated this week what can be achieved by standing strong together to fight against bus and subway fare increases. After tens of thousands gathered in the streets of Rio for protests, city leaders announced they would be rolling back the fare hikes.

ATU International President Larry Hanley praised the protestors in Brazil and called on U.S. riders to fight back as transit systems slash service, increase fares, and abandon routes despite historic highs in ridership. ?American commuters should take notice of the successful protests in Brazil and rise up to demand affordable, reliable and safe public transportation,? says Hanley. ?The ATU remains committed to this cause and stands in solidarity with our riders in the US and Canada in this fight for more and better public transit.?

Hanley also sent a message to politicians, ?The Brazilian protests should also serve as a warning to all politicians that they will jeopardize their own political future if they ignore the needs of the burgeoning number of public transportation users in the United States and Canada.??Read more.

ATU Calgary members forced out of homes by floods

Contribute to the ATU Disaster Relief Fund to help

A dangerous flood in Calgary has forced about 75,000 residents, including ATU members, out of their homes, transforming many streets into flowing rivers and left the heart of the city largely deserted. We pray for the safety of all our fellow members and citizens in the Calgary area.

While little is known about the damage, many ATU brothers and sisters and their families live in the area and their homes and property may have been destroyed and damaged. We hope to get reports soon.

As ATU members did with the Oklahoma tornados and when any crisis hits, we do what we do every day on the job, in our communities, and in our places of worship…we help out. You can help your brothers and sisters who may have been hurt by these horrible floods by contributing to the ATU Disaster Relief Fund.

Donations can be made online by visiting?here?or by mailing a check to:

Amalgamated Transit Union??Disaster Relief Fund

5025 Wisconsin, Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC? 20016
Attn: Lawrence J. Hanley

Winnipeg buses could get transit police


In the wake of an increase in assaults on bus drivers and passengers, Winnipeg city council is considering tougher laws and transit police.Osborne 16

ATU Local?1505-Winnipeg President James Girden cautiously praised the proposal, ?It?s a step up, but it?s not going all the way.? Pointing to the 336 reported assaults on drivers since 2000, Girden said not every attack is brought forward. ?In the last couple of days we had three assaults and a couple of weeks ago we had five,? he said.

Under consideration is a bylaw that would allow tickets to be issued to people who don?t pay the fare, loiter, vandalize or interfere with transit operations and even ban violators from riding the bus. The proposal also would include hiring patrols to monitor the transit system to enforce the bylaw.?Read more.

ATU women: Take part in important women’s health survey

Very little research has been done to understand?how shift work specifically affects women who work in mass transit.?The demands placed on women?s bodies while working and balancing home life can have serious health consequences. There has been some suggestion that female shift workers may be at greater risk for ill-health effects.

That is why the National Center for Intermodal Transportation at the University of Denver is working with the ATU to conduct a study to assess women?s health issues. As part of this study researchers need ATU women to take a survey to better understand these issues.

Thanks to those ATU women who have already participated in this survey. If not, make sure your voice and opinions are part of this important study by clicking?here?to take a brief online survey.?

ATU President Hanley talks ATU, transit on Rick Smith Radio show

President hanley IIATU being named the Nation?s ?2012 Most Valuable International Union?, the history of the transit worker labor movement and ATU?s innovative campaigns to mobilize riders were among topics discussed by ATU International President Larry Hanley in a recent interview with the?Rick Smith radio show.? Listen to the full interview?here.

BART workers push safety concerns as negotiations remain tense

Negotiators for Local?1555-Oakland, CA, returned to the bargaining table, Wednesday, after taking a one-day break to protest the slow pace of bargaining and the unwillingness of BART to address the local union?s safety concerns in the next contract.?The local has asked for new safety measures such as increasing the number of station agents to provide more security at transit stations.

Local 1555 officers plan to take a strike vote next week to demonstrate how serious they are about their concerns.?Read more.

Thunder Bay MP introduces bill to curb transit assaults


In response to a recent pair of assaults on Thunder Bay Transit buses, MP John Rafferty, NDP-Thunder Bay-Rainy River, ON, tabled (introduced) a bill in parliament that would require Canadian courts, at sentencing, to consider as an aggravating circumstance that a victim of an assault is a public transit operator. The idea for legislation, Rafferty said, ?came after news of the bus attacks and discussions with representatives from Local?966?of the Amalgamated Transit Union.

The New Democratic MP also wanted ?to assure members of the Amalgamated Transit Union and other transit operators across Canada who devote themselves to providing a very high level of public service that New Democrats and Canadians stand with you and are committed to making your workplace as safe as possible.??Read more and watch video.

Brazilian Cities’ Transport Fare Hikes Rolled Back

Brazil protest

Brazilian protest

SAO PAULO ? Leaders in Brazil’s two biggest cities said Wednesday that they reversed an increase in bus and subway fares that ignited anti-government protests that have spread across the nation in the past week.

Many people doubted the move would quiet the demonstrations, which have moved well beyond outrage over the fare hikes into communal cries against poor public services in Latin America’s biggest nation.

“It’s not really about the price anymore,” said Camila Sena, an 18-year-old university student at a protest in Rio de Janeiro’s sister city of Niteroi. “People are so disgusted with the system, so fed up that now we’re demanding change.”

Sena added that seeing money poured into soccer stadiums for the current Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup only added fuel to the people’s anger.

“It’s not that we’re against the World Cup, not at all. It will bring good things for Brazil. It’s just that we’re against the corruption that the World Cup has become an excuse for,” she said.

At a press conference in Sao Paulo to announce the reversal of the public transport fare hike, Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad said it “will represent a big sacrifice and we will have to reduce investments in other areas.” He didn’t give details on where other cuts would occur.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes also confirmed that the fare increase would be rescinded in that city.

Scattered street demonstrations continued in some parts of Brazil, including Niteroi, as protesters demand improvements of the public services they receive in exchange for high taxes and rising prices.

Small groups of protesters clashed with police in Niteroi late Wednesday, while demonstrators staged a large march in the capital of Brasilia that included a new demand that the government provide free transit services.

Earlier in the day, about 200 people blocked the Anchieta Highway that links Sao Paulo, the country’s biggest city, and the port of Santos before heading to the industrial suburb of Sao Bernardo do Campo on Sao Paulo’s outskirts. Another group of protesters later obstructed the highway again.

In the northeastern city of Fortaleza, 15,000 protesters clashed with police trying to prevent them from reaching the Castelao stadium before Brazil’s game with Mexico in the Confederations Cup soccer tournament.

Riot police used gas bombs and pepper spray to keep protesters from advancing past a barrier some 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the stadium. A police car was burned by demonstrators, who also threw rocks and other objects at officers. The protest disrupted fans’ efforts to get in the stadium for Brazil’s second match at the World Cup warm-up tournament.

“We are against a government that spends billions in stadiums while people are suffering across the country,” said Natalia Querino, a 22-year-old student participating in the protest. “We want better education, more security and a better health system.”

Earlier, hundreds of protesters cut off the main access road to the stadium, and police responded by diverting traffic away from the road. Official vehicles of the international soccer organization, FIFA, were among those struggling to reach the stadium.

In the city of Belo Horizonte, some 2,000 protesters took to the streets in a peaceful demonstration, while protesters were reported gathering in Niteroi, across Guanabara Bay from Rio de Janeiro.

The actions followed another night of mass marches around Brazil and nearly a week of unrest that has shocked the country’s leaders ahead of a papal visit next month and next year’s World Cup soccer tournament.

Beginning as protests against bus fare hikes, the demonstrations have quickly ballooned to include broad middle-class outrage over the failure of the government to provide basic services and ensure public safety, even as Brazil’s economy modernizes and tax rates remain some of the highest in the world.

Protest organizers, who have widely employed social media, called for mass demonstrations Thursday in Sao Paulo and Rio, the country’s two biggest cities. The Rio action promised the most volatility, with protesters planning to march to Maracana stadium where Spain and Tahiti are to play in a Confederations Cup match. Police said they would not allow protesters to interrupt the game.

Soldiers from Brazil’s elite National Force have been sent to Fortaleza, Rio, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Brasilia to bolster security during tournament games.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter urged protesters to stop linking their anger against the government to the Confederations Cup. The cost of building stadiums for the FIFA tournaments has been a regular complaint at marches.

In an interview with Brazil’s Globo TV network, Blatter said he could “understand that people are not happy, but they should not use football to make their demands heard.”

“We did not impose the World Cup on Brazil,” he said.

On Tuesday night, tens of thousands of Brazilians flooded central Sao Paulo, with the protest following the rhythm of mobilizations that drew some 240,000 people across Brazil the previous night. Though mostly peaceful, small bands of radicals split off in Sao Paulo to fight with police.

Fernando Grella Vieira, head of the Sao Paulo state public safety department, said 63 people were detained during Tuesday’s protests. He told Globo TV that police would guarantee the right to demonstrate but would “repress all forms of vandalism.”

Police said those arrested had looted stores during the protest in downtown Sao Paulo and were caught running away with clothing, TV sets, microwave ovens and computers.

TV footage showed protesters breaking into shuttered newsstands and stealing cigarettes and candy. Other images showed demonstrators smashing windows of banks and stores.

Beyond complaints about transit fares, protesters haven’t produced any concrete demands even as they’ve waved signs, gone on social media and chanted their anger at the entire governing system. A common cry at the rallies: “No parties!”

“What I hope comes from these protests is that the governing class comes to understand that we’re the ones in charge, not them, and the politicians must learn to respect us,” said Yasmine Gomes, a 22-year-old squeezed into the plaza in central Sao Paulo where Tuesday night’s protest began.

President Dilma Rousseff, a former leftist guerrilla who was imprisoned and tortured during Brazil’s 1964-85 dictatorship, has hailed the protests for raising questions and strengthening Brazil’s democracy. “Brazil today woke up stronger,” she said in a statement Tuesday.

Yet Rousseff offered no actions that her government might take to address complaints.

The protests have raised troubling questions about the country’s ability to provide security ahead of it playing host to some of the world’s biggest events, including the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Mass protests are rare in this 190 million-person country, with demonstrations generally attracting small numbers of politicized participants.

Many now protesting in Brazil’s streets hail from the country’s growing middle class, which government figures show has ballooned by some 40 million people over the past decade amid a commodities-driven economic boom.

The protesters say they’ve lost patience with endemic problems such as government corruption and inefficiency. They’re also slamming Brazil’s government for spending billions of dollars to host the World Cup and Olympics while leaving other needs unmet.

A November government report raised to $13.3 billion the projected cost of stadiums, airport renovations and other projects for the World Cup. City, state and other local governments are spending more than $12 billion on projects for the Olympics in Rio.


Associated Press writers Stan Lehman in Sao Paulo, Jenny Barchfield and Rob Harris in Rio de Janeiro, Marco Sibaja in Brasilia and Tales Azzoni in Fortaleza contributed to this report.

Winnipeg buses could get security patrols

?Osborne 16Winnipeg’s transit union says Route 16 Selkirk- Osborne sees the most assaults on drivers.?Tamara Forlanski

WINNIPEG ? Riding the bus in Winnipeg could soon be safer.

An administrative report recommends the city create a new transit bylaw and hire special transit constables.

If approved by city council, the bylaw would allow tickets to be issued to people who don?t pay the fare, loiter, vandalize or interfere with transit operations. It could go so far as banning people from riding the bus.

The report also recommends increasing security on buses by hiring six foot patrols to monitor the transit system. They would be given special constable status so they could enforce the bylaw.

?It?s a step up, but it?s not going all the way,? said Jim Girden, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union in Winnipeg.

The union said since 2000, there have been 336 reported assaults on bus drivers. Girden said not every attack is brought forward.

?In the last couple of days we had three assaults and a couple of weeks ago we had five,? he said.

The route with the highest reported number of assaults on bus drivers was Route 16 Selkirk-Osborne. There have been 50 incidents on that route since 2000.

There have been 48 reported assaults on drivers along Route 11 Portage-Kildonan and 34 on Route 15 Sargent-Mountain. There have been only one reported assault on Route 26 Logan-Berry, 46 Transcona Express, 67 Charleswood Express, 68 Crescent and Route 75 Crosstown East. Route 90 Kildonan Place-Whellems Lane had not one reported assault on a driver.

The report pegs the cost of the new special constables at $531,600 a year. The province would need to fund half of that.

?You don?t get safety and security cheap,? Girden said. ?It doesn?t come with a free price tag, but all it takes is one serious accident, or one serious incident or worse, and then everybody sits up and wonders what are we going to do about this.?

The city report will be presented at a public works committee meeting Tuesday morning.


Bus drivers under attack from riders

Ottawa incidents include being splashed by urine

OC Transpo drivers reported 62 incidents in 2012, many of them confrontations between transit workers and unruly passengers.

Photograph by:?Pat Mcgrath, Ottawa Citizen , Ottawa CitizenOtawa buses

One Ottawa bus driver was splashed with a cup of urine, another had his crotch grabbed by a drunken passenger and others were regularly punched and spat on, according to incident reports filed with OC Transpo last year.

Assaults on drivers all across the country remain the primary issue for Canadian transit union leaders who applaud the federal Liberals for introducing a bill on Wednesday that aims to stiffen penalties for people caught attacking on-duty transit operators.

Ottawa bus drivers take plenty of abuse, according to the 62 incident reports filed with OC Transpo in 2012. Half of those stem from fare disputes with people who simply do not want to pay, while 28 incidents involved physical contact with drivers.

One of the scariest attacks was on an operator who was driving about 90 km/h on the Transitway.

“That really does speak to one of our major concerns because it’s not just the safety of the operator, but all the other people who the operator has a responsibility for,” said Mike Mahar, director of the Amalgamated Transit Union’s Canadian Council, which has spent the past few months lobbying politicians to change Canada’s laws.

The incident on the Transitway began with the man dancing in the aisle of the bus, while his friend played music, according to the reports obtained through a municipal freedom of information request.

The driver asked the man to stop, but he proceeded to dance and taunt the driver by pointing at his crotch.

The driver stopped and asked them to get off, but the man playing music pleaded with the driver to take them to Fallowfield.

Once on the Transitway, the man started to shove the operator.

The driver slammed on the brakes and told the man to get off at the next station. As they approached the stop, the man walked up again and started to “swing wildly”, landing a punch to the operator’s face, according to the report.

Physical attacks ranged in severity with some including minor contact with the drivers’ arms, while several included throwing objects like a newspaper, potato chips and soft drinks.

“Those seem harmless with respect to the threat to the public, but those hits to the arms, the spitting and the berating continue to add up and operators end up leaving the industry because of that,” Mahar said.

The more serious assaults included punches to drivers’ faces, the thrown cup of urine and a sexual assault.

A drunken man offered sexual favours to one male operator, who told the passenger to get off the bus at the next stop. The man replied with more sexual overtures and grabbed the operator’s crotch, according to the report. The operator escorted him off the bus without incident.

One woman driver was accosted by three men, with one man saying he “wanted to f–her.” The second man said he “wanted to f—her up,” while the third said he wanted to “do worse,” according to the incident report.

That document describes the assault as verbal, which gets a level-one classification because there was no or minor injury.

“Under the definition of the Criminal Code (of Canada) that would still be just threatening,” said James Babe, manager for the city’s transit safety and enforcement services branch.

Incident reports are categorized into three levels of assault, using definitions from the Criminal Code. Level two includes assaults causing injury and level three includes aggressive assault or assault with a weapon.

Craig Watson, president of ATU Local 279, had not heard about the sexual threats to one of his drivers. “Unfortunately, that’s the type of thing our members have to deal with every day,” he said.

Spitting on drivers was again a popular response from angry passengers with 22 incidents recorded. One of those reports indicates the operator allowed a person to ride the bus for free, but an argument began when the driver refused to give the passenger a transfer. Before leaving, the person spat on the driver.

“Unfortunately, that’s the way many people express their anger these days,” Watson said. “The worst part is that it creates something that weighs on a driver for a long time because you don’t know what’s in that fluid in terms of disease.”

Watson joined Mahar in Saskatoon this week as union leaders met to discuss strategies to deter assaults on drivers. One of the biggest strategies included lobbying to change the Criminal Code of Canada to stiffen punishments for those convicted of assaulting on-duty bus drivers. That effort got a major boost Wednesday when Liberal deputy leader Ralph Goodale introduced Bill C-533, which aims to make assaults on transit operators an aggravating factor during sentencing.


Here are a few highlights of some of the more troubling assaults on transit operators


– A drunken man touched a bus driver’s crotch after offering sexual favours. The driver grabbed the passenger’s wrist and escorted him off the bus without incident at the next stop.

– A driver left his bus when a man was yelling at him for not letting him off in the middle of traffic. The passenger pushed the driver to the ground and punched in the face when he tried to get up.

– A woman driver was standing outside her bus during a break on Caldwell Avenue when a man pushed her into the side of the bus. She turned and pushed the male to the ground, but he returned a few minutes later with two other men. She called for help and drove away.


– A pedestrian ran across two lanes of moving traffic on Hazeldean Road and stood in front of the bus, forcing the driver to stop. The man forced open the operator’s window and tried to climb through with the “intention to committing violence.”

– Passenger tried to board a bus without paying. When asked for a transfer, the man said “You are a goof and I’m going to knock your teeth out.”

– A man was knocking on the side of a bus as it left a stop on Slater Street, but the driver said it was too late to stop. The man later caught up in another bus. He ran up swearing and threatened to “take care of him (the driver)” when he saw him next.

ATU Canada Rallies for Sustainable Funding for Public Transit

TU Canada Rallies for Sustainable Funding for Public Transit

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN–(Marketwired – June 13, 2013) – On June 13, 2013, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) leaders from across Canada are holding a public rally in Saskatoon to advocate for a national transit strategy. Specifically, ATU leaders are looking for sustainable long term funding for public transit at a Federal level.

Canada is the only G8 country that does not have a national transit strategy.

In March 2013, NDP Transportation Critic Olivia Chow introduced Private Members Bill C-615, An Act to establish a National Public Transit Strategy. If adopted, the Bill would provide for a national public transit strategy to coordinate funding at all levels and provide for long term funding for transit infrastructure.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Urban Transit Association, the Big City Mayor’s Caucus, the Urban Transportation Task Force, transit authorities from coast to coast to coast and ATU Canadian Council have all urged the federal government to adopt a national transit strategy.

Public transit is essential to a healthy society. A national transit strategy is a progressive social policy that is long overdue in Canada.

In recent years, riders in rural communities here in Saskatchewan and across Canada have been cut off from their neighbours due to the lack of a national strategy. Cities large and small struggle to fund transit infrastructure due to the unpredictable funding and riders find that their services are cut off unexpectedly as a result.

Public transit is not a luxury.

It is well known that the lack of adequate funding hurts students, low income earners and passengers with special needs the most. Many of these riders spend hours a day on the bus, because they do not have any other transportation options.

It is not as well known that the lack of a transit strategy is the cause of the traffic congestion we all endure today. In cities such as Brampton, Mississauga and Halifax where the average commute is 82 minutes, congestion costs the economy 6 billion dollars a year. The economic loss resulting from a lack of a transit strategy across Canada is billions more.

A comprehensive national public transit strategy could address and meet the needs of urban and rural riders, students, and riders with disabilities. Such a strategy would enhance the safety of transit employees and the travelling public, stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

Mike Mahar, Director, Amalgamated Transit Union Canadian Council

For more information or to schedule an interview with

Mike Mahar, please contact his office at

416-679-8846 or directly at 416-476-8350

Know an outstanding ATU Volunteer/Activist/Hero, Nominate for “Above & Beyond”


Know volunteerHave you heard the story about Local?697-Toledo, OH, member Geraldine Mitchell, who intervened to stop a young woman from committing suicide on the front porch of a house? ? or Nathaniel Arnold,?192-Oakland, CA (pictured on the left), who has dedicated hundreds of volunteer hours to bring community-based organizations, politicians, clergy, and other allies together to help secure additional local transportation funding and protect bus service in his county?

We know there are countless more stories of ATU members going ?above and beyond? the call of duty to be advocates for ATU members, their families, and their communities.

We would like to recognize these selfless members whose stories inspire us to do more and become more involved in our Union. Whether it is taking the lead in building a coalition with riders to fight to save transit, developing a health and wellness program for members, or starting a food drive in their community, there are many ATU members who stand out as inspirational volunteers and heroes for ATU.

We want to honor them and share what they?ve done to encourage more and more to do the same. So if you know a fellow member who have gone ?Above and Beyond? please fill out the?online form?to nominate him/her.

Growing chorus demands Ottawa pay more for mushrooming Toronto’s transit needs

As North America?s third-largest transit system continues to grow, Toronto politicians, transit officials and community leaders continue to fight over funding issues to meet the increasing demand.

Toronto Transit Commission chief Andy Byford and Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne have repeatedly called on Ottawa to contribute more to the Toronto region. Both say it?s difficult to efficiently manage the system without knowing year to year what its subsidy and fare revenue will be. Meanwhile Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said his Conservative government won?t support a 1 per cent regional sales tax hike to help pay for transit.

?If we had a national transit strategy, I think it makes the case for getting consistent, stabilized, fair funding from all three levels of government that much more achievable,? said Byford.?Read more.

Even BART agents are grossed outBart gross

Guys with knives, naked riders, passengers defecating on seats and constant verbal abuses are just another day at work for members of ATU Local?1555-Oakland, CA, on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART).

As contract negotiations remain heated, BART workers produced a video to raise the public?s attention to these unsafe, unsanitary, unseemly conditions that they experience on the job every day.?View video with caution.

Show your solidarity with strike to stop violence against Turkey protests

As police continue to the brutal crackdown on protests against the Turkish government, two national trade union centers in Turkey have announced general strikes to stop the police violence and widespread arrests of protestors.

Union members across the world can show their solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Turkey and call for end to the police attacks and arrests on protestors by signing this?online petition.

Senator warrenATU shows love for Senator Warren



That’s son of Local?589-Boston President John Lee showing his love by kissing the cheek of Senator Elizabeth Warren in the picture on the left.

During the 2012 election season, ATU members across Massachusetts leafleted riders, knocked on doors and attended rallies in support of Sen. Warren?s campaign. In office Senator has proven to be a strong advocate for public transit and is fighting for the rights of all working families in Massachusetts and beyond.

Despite being a freshman senator, Warren has taken on the financial industry and been a strong critic of practices of Wall Street, even chastising regulators for treating financial executives better than average Americans. ATU says, ?Keep up the great work Senator Warren!??Read more.

Chicago transit workers: CTA violating contract

Protesting CTA violations of a new four-year labor agreement, Chicago transit workers held a protest outside the agency?s headquarters this week. The members of Local?308?called on CTA head Forrest Claypool to address this issue and vowed to put also political pressure on Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The Union says newly hired part-time workers who are paid at a lower rate are being given priority for scheduling over veteran employees. Furthermore when new workers call in sick, the senior full-time workers are being assigned on short notice to fill in on shifts that the longtime workers should have been allowed to choose originally.

?In 2011, you heard Forrest Claypool say we are getting paid for coffee breaks and this and that. All of that was wrong,?? Kelly said. ?Forrest Claypool knows one thing: He knows how to lie. That?s what he?s good at. He?s a liar. He?s a henchman.???Read more.

?Support striking Walmart workers

Sign living wage campaign petitionWalmart workers

Striking Walmart workers like Barbara from Commerce City, Colorado, have descended on company headquarters in Bentonville, AK to stand up against Walmart’s treatment of any worker who speaks out for respect on the job.

Their brave actions are forcing Walmart executives to listen to their calls for change by bringing their struggle directly to the company’s doorstep. It?s time for the one of the world?s largest employers to start treating its workers with the dignity and respect they deserve and pay them a living wage.

You can show your support for these striking workers by signing their petition.?Sign here.

New Congressional Caucus to fight for public transportationATU and transit workers are going to have a new champion in Congress with the recently formed Public Transportation Caucus.

Founded by Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) the bipartisan Caucus will address issues facing rail, light rail, bus rapid transit and traditional bus service. With aging assets, decreased funding and increased ridership putting serious pressure on America?s public transportation systems, the Caucus will allow members to engage in constructive dialogue on the challenges and needs of mass transit agencies across the country.

?From Pittsburgh, PA, to Everett, WA, to Detroit, MI, to Charleston, SC, 80 percent of transit systems have had to cut service or increase fares since the recession began. Yet public transportation ridership in the U.S. is the highest it?s been in decades and even more people would use it if they could,” said ATU International President Larry Hanley. “We praise?Congressmen Lipinski and Grimm for creating this caucus to address this growing demand. It’s time for?Congress to recognize that public transit creates good jobs, delivers customers to businesses, and helps create a clean environment.??There is literally nothing more effective in getting our economy moving than mass transit.”?Read more.

Call your Member of Congress and tell them to join the Public Transportation Caucus.?


Employer support for transit surging locally, fractured nationally

EmployerAmerican employers are organizing and winning better public transportation in their own metro areas. Major employers have been promoting state and local ballot transit initiatives that win?over 70%?of the time.?That?s the good news coming out of ??Bosses for Buses,? a new study released by?Good Jobs First.

The study was inspired by a 1996 campaign to improve bus service in Staten Island, NY, led by International President Larry Hanley when he was president of Local?726.?Hanley pulled together a coalition of riders, religious groups, businesses, the chamber of commerce, elected officials, and others that succeeded in winning a $1 reduction in the express bus fare, dedicated bus lanes and bigger buses resulting in a?125% increase?in ridership.?Read more.

Unfortunately, there is not a unified national corporate voice for transit.

?The remarkable local support for transit demonstrated by so many employers is truly heartening,? says Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First and lead author of the study. ?But the lack of a unified corporate voice on federal transit issues begs the big-picture question: ?When will the growing corporate consensus for transit outside the Beltway translate into stronger action inside the Beltway???

Rise in corporate profits comes at workers’ expense

Policies aimed at boosting unions could help close the growing income inequality in the U.S. says a new report published in the American Sociological Review.

?It?s a zero sum game: whatever is not going to workers, goes to corporations,? said the report?s authors. ?Union decline not only increased wage gaps among workers, but also enabled capitalists to grab a larger slice of the national income pie at the expense of all workers, including the highly skilled.?

Despite the recession, corporate profits have soared to record highs??while workers’ wages have remained largely stagnant. The rise in profit comes as union membership has dropped to a record low.

?If we want all workers to benefit from the economic growth, then policymakers can initiate some steps to strengthen unions, such as pro-union reforms of labor law, and deterioration with employers’ illegal anti-union tactics that increasingly spread over the last decades,? says the report.?Read more.

WA bridge collapse, deteriorating transit, wake up call to Congress

The recent collapse of the bridge in Washington State and our nation?s crumbling public transit systems should be seen as a warning to all Americans that unless something is done and done quickly, our transportation infrastructure and systems will crumble around us.

ATU is urging Congress to act now, to pass a complete, six-year transportation authorization bill and dedicated tax to bring our roads and bridges up-to-date, and repair, maintain, and expand mass transit in America.?Read more.WA

ATU International President Larry Hanley told KOMO-AM radio in Seattle that for the last five years Congress has refused to invest in transportation and infrastructure and that is why our bridges and transit systems are deteriorating. ?Americans used to see building roads, bridges and expanding mass transit as an investment rather than an expense.? Listen to interview?here.

Workers stress safety in BART talks

As contract talks continue, BART workers are pointing to serious safety concerns as on-the-job injuries have risen 43 percent according to OSHA and assaults on station agents have quadrupled from 2009 to 2012.

One member of Local?1555-Oakland suffered a brutal attack at the hands of several teenagers that has kept her off the job and on workers? compensation. She was left with two cracked vertebrae, neural damage ? including losing the ability to taste ? and had at least a dozen teeth replaced. In another incident a worker was punched twice in the face by a fare evader.

Local 1555 is pointing to recent staff cutbacks as the reason behind the increase in workplace injuries and assaults.?Read more.


Ride for respectSupport striking Walmart workers


Sign Walmart workers? living wage campaign petition

Since the ?Ride for Respect? was announced on Tuesday, Walmart workers from 12 cities have gone out on strike.?Now, they?re taking their complaints straight to the Walmart shareholder meeting on June 7th?in Bentonville, AR ? caravanning with other workers to deliver a petition calling on the company to publicly commit to jobs with full-time hours and a minimum salary of $25,000.

Make sure your name is on the petition when it gets delivered to Walmart executives in Bentonville. The petition they?re delivering will be more powerful with your name on it ? make sure it’s not missing:?Sign here.

Vancouver, BC members protest taxi paratransit planVancouver Members

Citing safety and service issues, Local?1724-Vancouver, BC members working for the HandyDart paratransit service crowded into a meeting to protest a plan to use more taxis to transport the elderly and persons with disabilities ? a plan which could result in the layoff of up to 28 drivers.

The local is adamant that taxi service is more costly and actually dangerous because of the cabbies lack of training. ?This is what happens when you have a contracted-out service and profit is the motive for most decisions,??says Local President Bob Chitrenky.?Read more.

Vancouver?s transit agency, TransLink, which was ordered to pursue HandyDart service reforms last year, insists taxis will save money and allow more trips for the same amount of money. ?You’re dancing around the problem,? Chitrenky says. ?You’re not telling us how this [inadequate service] is going to be solved.??Watch video.

?Latrobe local raises safety concerns as negotiations stall

Members of Local?1738-Latrobe, PA,? gathered at a Westmoreland County Transit Authority board meeting to?complain about the pace of negotiations and safety and maintenance concerns.

The members are?prepared to take a strike vote this summer if negotiations don?t pick up soon with contract operator National Express Transit. The 59 drivers and mechanics have been working without a contract since last August, yet talks have proceeded at a snail?s pace.

?We’re still in the early stages of negotiations. We haven’t even reached the economic issues. That’s how bad it is,? says International Vice President John Costa. The local says it doesn?t want to go on strike, but if talks continue to be unproductive they could take a strike vote after the next negotiating session, scheduled for June 17.?Read more.

Another bus driver attacked

Sudbury bus“Ride the Bus on Us” – an initiative of the Mayor and Council’s Roundtable on Children and Youth – will continue again this summer for its fourth consecutive year./Star file

Another Greater Sudbury Transit driver has been involved in what city officials are calling a ?physical altercation? with a passenger, although they say the driver was not hurt.

The bus operator was driving a late-night route in the Leslie Street-Mont Adam area when the driver called Greater Sudbury Police.

In a release, city spokeswoman Shannon Dowling said police took a report from the driver and that the city’s joint health and safety committee was notified about the incident.

Tom Lalonde, chair of the inside unit of CUPE Local 4705, the union representing transit employees with the city, said the driver sustained scratches.

Lalonde said the city’s joint health and safety committee will meet next week and the latest attack will be discussed.

A source told The Sudbury Star the female passenger challenged the driver, not wanting to pay the fare for the ride.

The city said it is taking steps to ensure its bus drivers are safe.

?The city continues to take measures to ensure operator and rider safety,? Dowling said in a written statement.

?For example, the results from a recent pilot project involving security cameras aboard transit buses is being compiled.

?The findings from that pilot project are expected to be presented to city council in the coming months. At that time, staff will seek direction from city council on how to proceed,? she said.

Dowling said the City of Greater Sudbury takes these matters ?very seriously. Violence of any kind will not be tolerated aboard city transit buses or in any city-owned facility.?

That message was reiterated by Mayor Marianne Matichuk, whose spokesman, Mike Whitehouse, forwarded a statement to The Star.

?As mayor, and as a health and safety professional, I take the safety of city staff on the job very seriously,? said Matichuk.

?Violence against or abuse of city employees is simply unacceptable in any circumstance. We will ensure this incident is thoroughly investigated and appropriate measures are taken to ensure the safety of city workers on the job at all times,? she said.

The latest assault against a city transit driver is the third in less than six months. In December, a male driver was shot at by a passenger with an air gun, after he disembarked. In February, a female driver was punched in the face by a male passenger who boarded the bus, struck her, then left the vehicle.

After that assault, the city installed video cameras on one bus as a pilot project to improve safety for transit drivers.

Rick Leroux, president of CUPE Local 4705, said the city has not taken drivers’ concerns about their safety seriously. The three incidents in the last six months are just the complaints that have been reported, said Leroux. Many others haven’t been reported

Leroux and Lalonde travelled to Toronto to meet with the union representing bus operators there and found that installing barriers in buses provided greater safety for buses.

According to statistics given to the union leaders, the number of assaults against Toronto operators declined from 82 in 2011 before barriers were installed to just two the following year after they were installed.

Sudbury bus driver attacked