Archive for November, 2013

America’s 1 percent strikes again

Plastic moneyWhile America?s wealthy keep raking in the millions, they are now scheming ways to further hurt hard working people by slashing Social Security benefits. With retirement accounts averaging $14.5 million, more than 1,200 times greater than the median worker’s savings, these money hungry CEOs want to raise the full retirement age to 70 and adopt a new measure of inflation, known as “chained CPI”?to reduce the system’s annual benefit increases.

?As Congress heads toward another budget showdown, the loudest calls for cutting Grandma?s benefits are coming from CEOs who will never have to worry about their own retirement security,? said the report?s co-author Sarah Anderson, who is the Global Economy Director at the Institute for Policy Studies.?Read more.

BART workers call for General Manager to resign

With BART’s board and management attempting to back out of an already approved contract, BART workers, including ATU Local?1555, and many community advocates called on General Manager Grace Crunican to step down.

BART claims a provision in the approved contract allowing workers six-weeks paid family leave was a ?mistake? and too costly. But many are saying the only mistake has been allowing Crunican to continue making decisions without the proper credentials or experience to run BART.

Crunican?s poor decision to hire $400,000, union-buster Thomas Hock to handle contract negotiations and her blatant disregard for employee safety that lead to the death of two track workers lend more weight to the calls for her resignation.?Read more.

Help ATU members devastated by Midwest tornadoes

This week?s tornadoes wreaked havoc across the Midwest and may havePhilipines destroyed the homes and lives of many of our ATU brothers and sisters. As we pray for the safety of everyone in the Midwest we are calling on ATU members to help those fellow members in need.

ATU members have always stepped up to the plate to help members during times of difficulty. From Hurricane Sandy to the Colorado fires and Oklahoma tornadoes, our members have supported our brothers and sisters in dire need and now it?s time we show our support again.

You can help your brothers and sisters who may have been hurt by these storms 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

ATU Canada fights back against driver fatigue

After a series of deadly motorcoach accidents, ATU Canada is bringing the problem of driver fatigue to the forefront of the parliament’s and public?s minds.

ATU Local?1624?has launched a campaign calling for legislation that requires??10 hour-maximum drive time per day, 14 hour-maximum on duty per day, [and] 10 hour-minimum guarantee for rest between shifts.?

According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board the number one cause of motorcoach crash fatalities over the past decade has been due to driver fatigue. These statistics are a warning for Canadians.

Local 1624 is pushing for universal agreement amongst the government, carriers, and passengers alike to ensure that all laws and regulations for bus drivers are respected while violations committed for the sake of profit will result in severe penalties.?Read more.

Stand united with OUR Walmart Black Friday Protest

UnitedOn Black Friday, November 29th, don?t take advantage of store deals; show your solidarity and protest with Walmart workers who are being taken advantage of by their employer.

?Walmart employees are severely underpaid, lack respectable work hours and cannot speak out against their conditions without retaliation. Walmart workers are paid and treated so poorly that one Ohio Walmart store held a food drive to collect food for their own employees! Yes for their own employees not a charity.

You can show your solidarity with Walmart workers and the Organization United for Respect at (OUR) Walmart by hosting a protest, signing a petition or adopting a fired striker by donating as little as $5.

To join the fight, make a donation, and to learn more about Black Friday Protests visitwww.BlackFridayProtest.org.

Swiss voters setting a course to curb excess CEO pay

Here in North America we could learn some lessons about income equality from the people of Switzerland. And the Koch brothers and their billionaire friends better take note.

For the first time ever in a modern developed nation, Swiss citizens will be voting on whether to create a ?maximum wage? under the proposed 1:12 Initiative for Fair Pay.?If passed, no Swiss company would be able to pay its top executives more in a month than the company?s lowest-paid workers make in a year.

Swiss corporations currently compensate their top execs?more than any other nation in Europe. Pharmaceutical giant Roche?s CEO pay?is 236 times the firm?s lowest wage. For Nestle?s CEO it?s 188 times.

With the growing income inequality in America, it?s time for US voters to push for similar legislation.Read more.

Regina transit workers avert strike, reach tentative deal

After nine months of negotiations, ATU Local?588?and the city of Regina have reached a tentative agreement that will allow workers to return to work.?

Regina transit workers voted to authorize a strike and engaged in job actions, but after a mediator stepped in they were able to reach a strong and fair Regina workersdeal.?Read more.

ATU International President Hanley on restructuring union for battle

President HanleyIn a video message ATU International President Larry Hanley discusses ATU?s plan to restructure the union to help locals fight privatization and other battles, as well as organize riders to join us in our efforts.

?Multinational companies are the middlemen for cities, agencies and provinces to lower wages and eliminate pensions for ATU members,? said Hanley. ?But our locals have been struggling with these problems in isolation, bargaining separately with these huge companies. There has been very limited coordination among our locals. At our convention your delegates approved a plan to build an arsenal to deal with these companies.?

Hanley discusses the three major parts of the restructuring plan. The first is building industry councils of the locals that deal with the same employer ? Veolia, First Group, MV, etc. Second, ATU will help locals formulate and execute various campaigns around politics, rider organizing or other issues. Lastly, ATU will be expanding training of leaders and members to strengthen our union on all levels.

?We will be enabled as a union to get and give you real support in your town to fight the battle that you have to fight for your pensions, wages and health care.??Watch full video here.

Canadian bills for stiffer penalities for assaults on transit workers gain momentum

The Canadian Council?s campaign to increase federal penalties for assaults on drivers got a boost when the Ottawa City Council unanimously endorsed Bills C-533, and C-402, urging their passage in parliament.

The two bills stiffen penalties for anyone convicted of assaulting a transit operator.

As of 2011, in Canada alone, the number of assaults reached an astonishing 2,061 attacks. These attacks are affecting not only bus operators but the public as well.

“An assault on a transit operator should be an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes because the assault takes advantage of this vulnerable state, and is dangerous not just for the operator but all the passengers in the vehicle,” stated Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson following the vote.

“If a driver gets assaulted, he could end up crashing that bus, endangering not just his life, but the public as well. These are people who are just trying to do their job,” says ATU Local?279?President Craig Watson. ?Read more.

Help save Ohio jobs, Gov. Kasich treats workers worse than a “dead deer”Ohio Jobs

More than 1,000 are now jobless in Ohio after Ormet, a massive aluminum smelter along the banks of the Ohio River, shut down due to a lack of funding and support from Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Ormet provided workers with family supportive wages and benefits, but was forced to shut its doors due to the company?s electrical rates being raised by over $20 million per year. The Ohio Public Utilities Commission refuses to help negotiate a resolution that will enable the smelter to resume full operations..

The United Steelworkers Union, who represents the Ormet workers, has launched a?petition campaignto pressure Kasich to bring the parties together to negotiate a resolution to the dispute. The petition reads ?you currently have an opportunity to step in and save over one thousand jobs at Ormet Aluminum in Hannibal, Ohio. If this facility remains closed, the effects will be devastating to the surrounding communities, and will have lasting catastrophic consequences to the Ohio Valley.?

?The governor could?ve made one phone call and we?d all still be working,? says one Ormet worker. ?He would?ve paid a dead deer along the side of the road more attention than he paid us.?

Kasich ran his campaign on a platform of creating jobs, but he?s responsible for the loss of Ormet workers’ jobs because of Ohio?s ?stalled economy.?

Read more about Ormet and sign the?Save Ohio Jobs campaign here.

Winnipeg police release video of assault on bus driver

Continuing their search for a suspect in a violent daytime attack on a city bus driver, police in Winnipeg have released video footage of the incident.

The video footage of the Sept. 14 attack ? which was released Tuesday — shows the suspect boarding a city bus and asking for a transfer. But when suspect?s request is refused because he has not paid a fare, the unidentified male starts violently attacking the driver.

The suspect proceeds to strike the driver for nearly three minutes. Police said the attacker stopped after two men boarded the bus to intervene.

PHOTOS

CTV Winnipeg: Video in transit driver assault

In this image taken from surveillance video, a man is seen attacking a Winnipeg city bus driver on Sept. 14, 2013. Winnipeg police released the video on Oct. 29, 2013.

Vicious bus attack video

In this image taken from surveillance video, a man is seen attacking a Winnipeg city bus driver on Sept. 14, 2013. Winnipeg police released the video on Oct. 29, 2013.

Winnipeg police Const. Eric Hofley told CTV Winnipeg that the video was released in order to send a strong message.

“We need to be clear that this type of behaviour is unacceptable,” he said.

The Amalgamated Transit Union said that there have been 25 assaults on bus drivers this year.

And despite cameras being installed on Winnipeg’s buses in 2009, the union says they’ve not seen a drop in the number of assaults.

“We have had an increase of assaults over the last couple of years, compared to what we had 20 years ago, 25 years ago,” union president Jim Girden said.

Photos of the suspect were initially released after the attack, but the union believes the extra video footage will help the investigation.

“The message needs to be given (that) we will try to find you and these videos will hopefully help us do that,” Girden said.

Bus passenger Lenny McKay agrees.

“If they’re trying to find somebody? I think the pictures and video of what they look like should be released to the public,” he said.

The bus driver suffered minor injuries in the attack and has since recovered.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Winnipeg police at 204-986-6668 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.
Read more:?http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/winnipeg-police-release-video-of-assault-on-bus-driver-1.1520256#ixzz2jsotcGfu

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