Local?615?members celebrated a big victory Monday by going back to work, fully one month after they were locked out by Saskatoon Transit.?The resumption of service came after the Saskatchewan Labour Board declared the lockout illegal, and the City reversed its subsequent decision to impose a new legal lockout of transit workers.
The City will provide both free rides for passengers, and a full refund for pass-holders until the end of the month.?Local 615 and the City remain far apart on wages and the pension fund. ?No word yet on when negotiations will resume.?Read more.
MARTA chief using police to intimidate workers
?Hours before a shooting took place at a MARTA station and four more times last week, MARTA CEO Keith Parker dispatched MARTA police officers in a coordinated effort to intimidate transit workers.
?This kind of behavior is a national disgrace and a black eye for Atlanta,? says Local?732?President Curtis Howard, calling on the governor to relieve Parker of his authority over the MARTA police. ?Instead of staying focused on protecting MARTA riders and transit employees, Keith Parker uses transit cops as his own personal army.?
Parker?s sudden policy change comes as workers have launched a campaign that promotes economic justice for working Atlantans, and opposes MARTA?s plans to outsource paratransit services.
?This isn?t just a shameful tactic straight out of a playbook that Dr. King condemned fifty years ago, it also happens to be illegal,? says International President Larry Hanley. ?Parker, who makes $345,000 per year, is a public official promoting a plan that would impoverish his workers and create substandard service for Atlanta?s most vulnerable transit riders.??Read more.
Governors push outsourcing with disastrous results
From Pennsylvania, where Governor Tom Corbett ?outsourced millions of dollars in state legal contracts to outside law firms that are among his biggest campaign contributors;? to Ohio, where Governor John Kasich?s ?privatized economic development agency has failed to deliver promised jobs, but is receiving a huge stream of funds from Ohio liquor sales, governors across the country have outsourced important public services to private firms with high-powered lobbyists ? mostly with disastrous results.
It?s also happening in Atlanta where the transit chief is trying to outsource paratransit, which will most certainly lead to poor and unsafe service.
This disturbing trend is documented in a new report by the Center for Media and Democracy,?Pay to Prey: Governors Facilitate the Predatory Outsourcing of America?s Public Services.
The winner in these boondoggles are large corporations, while all too often taxpayers are the losers when transparency, accountability and the public interest are sold out to for-profit firms.?Read more.
Why Wausau needs to pass referendum on public transit
It?s ?d?j? vu all over again? in Wausau, WI, where ATU members waged a successful campaign to preserve transit service by mobilizing riders, clergy and the public to vote for a referendum to fund public transit in 2012.
Now, members are mobilizing voters again to pass another referendum to fund public transit on November 4. If the referendum doesn’t pass, public transit and paratransit will end in Schofield, Weston, and Rothschild ? leaving many with no way to get around.
One woman from the area shared a compelling story in the?Wausau Daily Herald?on why this vote is so important to her. When she and her husband first moved to the area they didn?t use or think about public transit.
Then tragedy struck when her husband had a surgery that went terribly wrong. He had a stroke and was left disabled and unable to drive. With young kids to care for, her husband now relies on the Weston bus to travel to classes, errands and appointments.
Her message:?everyone?should care about public transit and vote to fund transit in this referendum. You can be sure ATU members will be out with her.?Read more.
Winnipeg students join workers to push for transit?
Transit workers and university students in Winnipeg, MB, joined hands to demand adequate public transit service for their city.?Many students rely on buses to get to and from school each day.
Local?1505?members marched with ?We Are One? signs, and students wore bus-shaped costumes as both groups spoke at the rally. They called for expanding bus rapid transit, and buying more buses to improve the quality, reliability and safety of public transit for both drivers and riders.
?It?s more than just riding the bus, it breaks down social barriers,? said Local President John Callahan. ?Invest in public transit and watch our city grow.??Read more.
Poll: More Americans prefer public transit to road building
Public transit ridership is at record levels and it?s been well documented that Millennials are forgoing cars and riding public transit in record numbers.?Now a new poll shows more Americans favor the government expansion of public transit over road building to reduce traffic congestion.
Conducted by?ABC News?and the?Washington Post, the poll found stronger support for public transit among urban residents than suburbanites, however?both?still prefer transit. The full results of the poll can be found?here.
As midterm voting begins, public transit is a key issue in many races and there are many transit ballots across the country.
Toledo mayor leading way on public transit?
Toledo transit workers, riders and allies have waged a strong campaign to push for more and better service in the Toledo metro area.
Now Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins has joined their cause along with Mayors Neil MacKinnon of Rossford and Richard Carr of Maumee in Rossford to underscore their support for keeping those cities in the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA).
Voters in those townships will decide November 4, whether to withdraw from TARTA. If it passes, it would strand hundreds of riders, hurt local employers, and further undermine the already weakened regional transit system.
ATU has long maintained that local leaders and governments must support public transit in and beyond their borders. It moves people, the economy and the community. Hopefully, other mayors will follow Mayor Collins?s lead and recognize the importance transit plays in their cities.?Read more.
Thunder Bay transit talks continue, but strike looms
Essential transit service for seniors and persons with disabilities hangs in the balance as Local?966?and the City of Thunder Bay, ON, approach tomorrow?s strike deadline.
In an effort to not abandon those who rely on this important service to live independent lives, the Local extended the strike deadline for?its Lift and Specialized Transit operators from Monday to Wednesday.Read more.