Time for a Transportation bill to enhance mobility for all


ATU PresidentCiting exploding urban populations, worsening traffic congestion, young people forgoing cars and stressed public transit systems, ATU President Larry Hanley called on the House Transportation Committee to set forth a major urban transportation agenda at the first hearing on the reauthorization of the transportation funding bill.
??If you think the petty political trick that caused a traffic jam in New Jersey was bad, wait until you see the traffic jams across America as urban populations burst at the seams,? warned Hanley, calling on Congress to double mass transit funding over the next six years. ?Generals fight the last war, legislators appropriate for the last demographic trend and we need to start investing now for the smart public transit that will enable our communities to run.?
If you missed President Hanley?s testimony you can?watch it here.?

California bill banning public transit strike dead

In the wake of the two BART strikes last year, California Senate Republicans attempted to push through a bill that would have banned public transit workers from striking.

However, the bill was rightly rejected as it received minimal support and never made it out of the Senate Committee. Democrats who voted against the bill said, ?it offered nothing to resolve the underlying bargaining issues that separate employees and management or to keep both sides at the table, such as binding arbitration.?

Despite the defeat, Republicans are expected to introduce similar bills. Let?s hope they come to their senses.?Read more.

Cincinnati ATU pushes bill to stiffen penalities against attacks on transit workers

With violent attacks on transit workers rising across North America, Cincinnati transit workers launched a campaign to stiffen penalties against attackers.Cincinnati

Their hard work got a boost when Ohio House members introduced a bill to increase the penalty for assault when the victim is an employee of an Ohio transit system. The legislation, H.B. 355, ?permits the court to impose a fine of up to $5000 and a six-month or lifetime prohibition from riding an Ohio transit system for assault?and increase the penalty for evading payment of the known fares of a public transportation system.??Read the bill here.

Local?627?? Cincinnati Executive Board members were on hand with the Ohio House members as they introduced the bill (see photo on the right).

Unsolved 1998 murder case of Local 1177 President reopened

In 1998, ATU lost a loyal friend and respected brother when retired Local?1177?? Norfolk President Ben Owens was shot and killed during a robbery at a gas station in Chesapeake, VA. The case was never solved, but was recently reopened after authorities found some possible leads.

The International is once again assisting Chesapeake police by honoring its offer of a $6,500 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this crime.

ATU Local 880 sister goes “Above & Beyond”

Sister 880The homeless and less fortunate in Camden City, NJ have a true hero at ATU Local?880?looking out for them?and setting an example for all ATU members.

Sister Gloria Smith, a bus driver for 28 years, has organized a holiday drive to collect food, clothing and toys for the poorer citizens of Camden City, the last few years.

On Christmas Day, rather than spend it with her family, Sister Smith (on the right in the photo) and her volunteers handed out the food, clothing, blankets, coats, toys, and games while serving hot dogs and coffee to the less fortunate citizens of Camden City.

?Sister Smith has a heart of gold and would do anything for everybody.? She is affectionately known as “Momma G” to her passengers,? said Local 880 President Stephen Knestaut.? ?She always offers to help when she sees someone who is down on their luck.? Sister Smith has an infectious smile and brightens the day of everyone she comes into contact with.? She is truly a selfless person who definitely gives back to society.?

The ATU applauds Sister Gloria Smith for going ?Above & Beyond.?

Thunder Bay transit workers warn of possible strike

With contract talks continuing with a conciliator, Thunder Bay transit workers have set a noon deadline on Saturday for reaching a tentative deal with the City before considering a strike.

ATU Local?966, which represents 170 bus drivers and maintenance staff, has been working without a contract since June 2012.

Local 966 President Shelia Kivisto?said workers don’t want to disrupt services for their passengers,? butwill if they are forced to. The union wants to give riders plenty of advance notice of any job action.?”We have to let people know and make sure everybody is aware of what’s going to happen early Monday morning,? Kivisto said.?Read more.

ATU & A4T applaud bill to modernize Voting Rights Act

New bipartisan legislation will protect the voting rights of minorities, transit riders and all people said ATU and Americans for Transit, applauding the introduction?of the ?Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014.

The?bill addresses the Supreme Court?s?recent Voting Rights Act decision, which turned the clock back to the Jim Crow-era when state laws prevented people of color from voting ? creating a permanent underclass in American society. The ruling required a photo ID to vote.

?It especially hurts transit riders, the poor, seniors, and persons with disabilities, who rely on public transit, often don?t possess driver?s licenses, and are vulnerable to disenfranchisement efforts,? said ATU and A4T. ?We urge Congress to pass this bill to protect the right of every American citizen to vote.? ?Read more.

Congress throws public transit commuters under the bus again


TaxesUnder new legislation that took effective January 1, the tax subsidies for mass transit commuters has been cut in half for 2014, while drivers got a boost to their tax breaks.

?What a way to start 2014. Congress is penalizing millions of commuters who choose public transit with a tax increase while those who drive and park receive a tax break. It just doesn?t make sense,? said ATU International President Larry Hanley. ?We should be encouraging commuters to get out of their cars and take public transportation.”

Hanley called on Congress to pass the Transit Parity Act giving permanent tax credit parity for all commuters. ?It?s the right thing to do for our communities, our economy and our environment.???Read more.

AC Transit workers ratify strong contract

The nearly 2,000 AC Transit workers, members of ATU Local?192?? Oakland, CA, voted to ratify a contract with improvements in wages and other benefits. The deal was reached as a possible strike loomed.

The union had been negotiating with AC Transit since its contract expired June 30th. Last October after Local 192 issued a strike deadline Governor Jerry Brown called for a 60-day cooling-off period to avert the shutdown.?

Local 192 President Yvonne Williams said she was proud her members had approved the strong contract. “It’s a big relief to ensure that they’re secure and that our riding public will get the service they are accustomed to and they deserve,” she said.?

The AC Transit Board of Directors is expected to approve the deal in the next week.?Read more.

Vancouver transit workers band together to stop assaults

Fed up with the more than 116 assaults on transit workers last year, ATU Vancouver bus 1Local134?– Vancouver, BC, members will be launching a campaign to fight back against these violent attacks.

The Vancouver transit workers will wear a button that reads, ?Stop assaults on transit workers? to spread awareness about this disturbing and growing problem.

The campaign is being launched as unions have started offering $15,000 rewards to people who come forward with information leading to convictions of attackers.

?We will continue to fight the fight and hopefully there will be a resolution at the end of the day,? said Local 134 President Geoffrey Devlin. ?We all have to wear this pin and all stick together and all come together for the same common good.??Read more.

BART Board finally endorses contract

After reneging on a ratified contract due to an alleged ?mistake? by management, the BART Board finally approved a new deal with BART workers.

BART and ATU Local?1555?- Oakland, CA, returned to the negotiating table and reached a new deal last week after management had illegally removed a six-week paid family medical leave provision from an agreement that had been approved by workers. The new contract includes improvements on various issues including paid time off and overtime.

Local 1555 members are expected to vote to approve the contract in the coming days.?The Union requested the BART Board vote first to endorse the new contract to avoid what happened when the Board rejected the first agreement. ?Read more.

Lack of transit at center of Milwaukee area’s jobs issue

MilwaukeeWhen Milwaukee resident Shawn Brown-Troop fell behind on car payments, he lost more than his car. He had to give up his job in a suburb because he could only get there by driving because public transit was not available.

He is one of thousands of Milwaukee residents who struggle to find work without a car as available jobs grow outside Milwaukee, beyond the reach of a weak county transit system. It?s also a problem for the companies that can?t fill jobs because qualified applicants have no way to get to work. Many cities across North America are experiencing similar issues.

Transit and workforce advocates, and companies are working to find solutions including exploring the development of a regional transit system to help fund an expanded system that would meet the demands.

“If there was a bus going out there, I’d still be working, even if it was an hour trip,” said Brown-Troop.Read more.

Tampa Bay area residents support sales tax to expand public transit


Recognizing the importance of access to public transit for their community, aTampa bay majority of Tampa Bay area residents said they would support a sales tax to helpexpand mass transit through more bus service and passenger rail.

These poll results bode well for Tampa and St. Petersburg organizations that plan to push for expanded mass transit in the Bay area with a referendum on next November’s ballot.

A similar issue went to voters in 2009 and was defeated, but four years later these poll results show stronger support.?Read more.

Hi Folks, I guess I am back now….

….since as of midnight last night I am technically no longer the FST for our local Union.

So I should be able to give some more time towards this site now and make sure it and you get the care and attention you all deserve.

That being said I must ask some of you to be a little more patient and please refrain from registering multiple times, if I don’t check the registrations you won’t get authorized any faster by registering more than once, that’s like pressing the up or down button on the elevator more than once because you think it will go faster, it won’t do anything. Just like passengers asking you to hurry when your stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, so just relax and wait for the response that says you have been accepted and can now partake of the little perks that make your new life with Wpg Transit just a little easier to deal with, be it convenience wise or stress wise, particularly when we all know we have plenty of stress to deal with already we certainly don’t need to have the additional stress of not knowing what you have been dealt until you get to work, so enjoy the crew sheets, and the run cards when they become available so you can get a glimpse of what coming up for your work the next day, I do this for you because I remember what it was like when I did this around 28 years ago and we had nobody helping us out like this. I can’t take full credit for this as it takes others to get the sheets to us, and as I don’t believe they wish to be pointed out, I will just say that we should all wish them a Very Happy New Year and all the best to come.

And for all of you my Brothers and Sisters,? HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!