Archive for February, 2014

More ATU trainings scheduled – get your local involved

Atu trainingExciting new ATU trainings for members and leaders will be taking place in Seattle, WA, Oakland, CA, and Kansas City, MO, in the coming weeks and more are being scheduled.

Members and leaders are learning new strategies to empower members to get involved, make our locals stronger, and prepare for the battles ahead. The trainings also cover how to be an effective union member in a hostile work environment, building rider and community coalitions, strategies for bargaining, and other topics

These programs are a vital step in engaging our membership and galvanizing our riders into a potent political force that will have an impact on local and national battles, the U.S. Congressional elections in November, and key municipal elections in a number of Canadian provinces.??Read more.

Don?t miss your opportunity to take part in these exciting trainings. Contact your local officers and tell them you want ATU training or email us directly at?training@atu.org.

?ATU supports passage of the European Robin Hood Tax

Sign Petition here to show your support

While working people across the world continue to struggle, the unchecked speculative excesses of the finance industry has brought the economies of the U.S. and Europe to the edge of ruin.

In both Europe and the US there has been a Robin Hood tax proposed. This is a financial transaction tax on stocks, bonds, derivatives and other financial instruments, paid by those very same banks, investment houses, hedge fund managers, and traders who created the latest financial crisis.

The revenue from this tax would create good jobs, fund public services, save lives at home and in developing countries, and combat climate change.

ATU is calling for a strong Robin Hood Tax – home and abroad. Check out this amusing video and sign the petition to show your support?here.

What’s next? Tampa bus drivers vandalized by flying rocks?

As if the growing number of attacks on transit workers isn?t enough, nowVandalized bus vandals are tossing rocks at moving buses, endangering the lives of drivers and passengers.

Over the last month in the Tampa area there have been at least 8 incidents of large rocks striking moving Hillsborough Area Regional Transit buses, shattering windshields and causing havoc.

Area police have increased patrols, but have not found the individuals responsible for these dangerous acts. Local?1593-Tampa, FL is calling for even more police presence and a clean up of debris before a serious accident happens and people get hurt.?Read more.

Attacked Kenosha bus driver gets job back

The Kenosha, WI, operator who was dismissed for defending himself against a vicious assault?got his job back this week. The violent attack is yet another example of the increasing risk transit riders and drivers across North America face each day on their commute.

A member of Local?998-Milwaukee, WI, the driver was assaulted by a passenger on his route and then fought back to protect himself and his passengers. Kenosha Area Transit fired the driver, blaming him for the incident.

The International and local protested the firing, and after meeting with the local, the agency agreed to bring the driver back after a five-day suspension.

?These senseless violent acts continue to afflict transit operators all over the United States and Canada, putting passengers at serious risk,? says International President Larry Hanley.??It is outrageous that a driver who acted to defend himself and quell the violence that threatened his passengers is fired for his actions.??Read more.

The one rich guy who owns everything

 

Rich guyIncome inequality continues to rise not only in North America, but across the world. The Koch brothers and their billionaire buddies keep getting richer while the poor get poorer and the middle class continues to disappear.

?Politicians are afraid to raise taxes on the wealthy for fear of retribution while claiming it would stop job creation, but we haven?t seen many new jobs regardless. Check out?this satirical cartoon, which sums up ?The one rich guy who owns everything.?

Will surveillance cameras on Detroit buses help curb violence?

After eight Detroit bus drivers were hospitalized from attacks, the city will begin outfitting its buses with surveillance equipment in an ongoing effort to curb violence on some of its most troubled routes.
While the jury is still out on whether cameras on buses help stop brutal attacks on drivers, Local?26-Detroit remains optimistic.??I am hopeful that things are going to get done,? said Local 26 President Fred Westbrook. ?I do know if it gets worse before it gets better that there?s going to be a problem.?Read more.

American highest paid gov’t employees might surprise you

?Contrary to misinformation spread by some politicians and pundits, America?s highest paid government workers are not your local teachers, nurses, or sanitation workers.? Instead, they are corporate executives who sign lucrative contracts to take over public services and then pay theStack of moneymselves and other executives eye-popping salaries.

A?report by the Center for Media and Democracy highlights just six of these ?government workers? who, between them, raked in more than $100 million from taxpayers in personal compensation during the past few years.
?Given these astronomical salaries, and evidence of higher prices, poor service, and at times outright malfeasance, taxpayers have every right to be concerned about how their outsourced dollars are spent,? said the report?s authors. 

Happy Valentine’s Day – People do fall in love on public transit

The love busLove can happen in the strangest places?even on public transit.It has happened so much in Boston that, the MBTA is sharing their annual ?Romance Stories? series on Valentine?s Day. They asked riders to submit stories describing how they fell in love or got hitched somewhere in the depths of stations, or while riding the trains that lead to it.

So this Valentine?s Day, or any day for that matter, remember to watch out when you ride the bus or train because Cupid could strike at any time.?Read more.

ATU mourns death of retired IVP Joe Welch

We have sad news to report as retired International Vice President Joe Welch passed away.

Beloved and respected throughout the ATU, Brother Welch was a long-serving IVP until he retired at the 2010 convention. He was first elected IVP at the ATU?s 48th convention in Toronto, ON in 1986. He also served as President of Local?580?? Syracuse, NY.

Hard working and loyal, Welch was known for providing extensive and useful assistance to all locals across NY state throughout his years at 580 and as an IVP. President La Sala called on Welch in the early 1990s to develop and implement a program for drivers on the new Commercial Drivers? License regulations.

Welch was always prepared for any emergency that would crop up on the road. He went out of his way to concern himself with the issues of ATU, but also cared about everyone personally he came in contact with. He was not just an officer, but a real friend to all in the ATU.

As Joe?s daughter said about her father, ?We shared daddy with thousands of brothers and sisters of the Amalgamated Transit Union. ATU runs through my veins.??

The ATU thanks Joe?s family for sharing him with us. Details on funeral arrangements are expected soon.?Read more.

Attack on Kenosha bus driver: Blaming the victim

A recent vicious attack on a Kenosha bus driver highlights the increasing risk transit riders and drivers across North America face each day in their commute.?assault to a bus driver

ATU International and Local?998?? Milwaukee assailed the firing of the Kenosha Area Transit driver for protecting himself and his passengers from the violent attack, and called on the Federal Transit Administration to open an investigation into the attack.?Read more.

?These senseless violent acts continue to afflict transit operators all over the United States and Canada, putting passengers at serious risk,? said ATU International President Larry Hanley. ?It is outrageous that a driver who acted to defend himself and quell the violence that threatened his passengers is fired for his actions.?

Getting kicked, punched, stabbed and shot as well as lower-profile offenses ? spitting and verbal harassment ? have almost become ?routine.? Over the last week a woman pepper-sprayed a driver in Washington, DC and another assault was reported in Pittsburgh. A bus driver now gets assaulted every three days in the United States.?Read full statement.

Cincinnati transit workers ratify strong contract

Approximately 660 Cincinnati Metro bus drivers, mechanics, and operations support employees voted to approve a new contract with wage increases and improved benefits.

The current contract for ATU Local?627?? Cincinnati members expired at midnight on Jan. 31, 2014.

?Stability is important, and this is a fair contract for our members,? said Troy Miller, President of ATU Local 627.? ?Our members serve the community well every day and deserve fair wages and benefits.??Retired Local President John McHale, 1614 – Dover, NJ, passes away

 

John McHaleRetired Local?1614?? Dover, NJ President John McHale recently passed away. McHale?s is a story of principle and sacrifice born out of a deep commitment and devotion to his members.

Elected president of Local 1614 in 1989, McHale served in that capacity for 20 years. In May 2007, after years of litigation, Local 1614 entered into bargaining with Lakeland Bus Company ? part of the NJ Transit system.

It became clear that without a strike threat the company would offer less than two percent per year wage increases and much of that would be eroded by increased healthcare costs.

After threats from both sides the state labor commissioner brought both parties together and reached an agreement for a significant increase in wages over the four years of the contract.

When the company presented the language of the final contract, the provision crediting McHale for his lost time was not included. The managers had thrown a monkey wrench into the agreement. Local 1614 members were ready to strike, but McHale said ?no.?

ATU remembers John McHale and his selfless example is another reason we?re proud to be ATU.?Read more.

Vote “NO” on The Economist’s poll on outsourcing

As ATU members know well, outsourcing transit services?severely jeopardizes the quality and safety of service. Private companies are primarily interested in squeezing out as much profit as possible rather than serving the community.

This is happening in communities across the world as essential public services like trash collection and community nursing homes are being turned over to private interests, subverting democracy and all economic good sense.

The Economist?magazine is conducting an online poll on the issue of outsourcing. They have posed the question ?Is it time for government to launch a new wave of privatizations?? Let?s make sure our voice is heard loud and clear.?Vote ?NO? here.

ATU jacket winner – Stay connected and you can stay warm!ATU Jacket

As this winter continues to be one of the most brutal in years, our winter coats are certainly being tested. ?That is why we are doing more drawings for ATU jackets.

Our latest winner is Local?843?? Bellingham, WA member Michael Gross. Stay connected and you too could win an ATU Jacket.

Please pass this message along to your fellow members and tell them to sign up for the latest ATU news and action alerts at?www.atu.org?for a chance to win an ATU jacket. To be eligible for the drawings, simply type your e-mail, local union number, and zip or postal code in the boxes on the ATU website opening page and click ?Go.?? Don?t worry, if you?ve already submitted your email you?re still eligible to win.

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