|With the critical midterm elections in the United States only days away, ATU members across the country are mobilizing for get-out-the-vote efforts to support transit friendly candidates and to fight for transit-related ballot initiatives.
In New Jersey, members went canvassing for Rep. Bill Pascrell and other candidates. Meanwhile in Clayton County, Georgia scores of MARTA workers and allies were out in full force knocking on voters? doors urging them to pass the referendum to expand MARTA to the county.?Read more.
There?s also another important transit referendum in Wausau, Wisconsin, where ATU members helped bring home a victory to save bus service in 2012. ATU is working with community allies to once again pass this referendum to preserve bus service that many in the community rely on.
In Lexington, KY, ATU members joined with Senate Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes and Nuns on the Bus to fight for transit, social justice, a higher minimum wage, and to highlight the importance of voting during this year’s midterm elections. Members in Detroit and Denver also joined with Nuns on the Bus in GOTV efforts.
Other locals are holding rallies, leafleting riders, and other actions in the next few days leading up to these important elections.
Column highlights MARTA worker’s struggle while CEO cashes in
?An?Atlanta Journal Constitution?column about the contract struggle between MARTA workers and their employer profiles ATU Local?732?member Natoya Walker, a 38-year-old single mother of five, who has driven the Mobility buses for six years, four of those full-time.
?Walker seems like the kind of employee any company would like to have. She?s gregarious, has some college, likes her clients and is dedicated to her job,? writes AJC columnist Bill Torpy as he discusses how she must rely on foot stamps and rent assistance to make ends meet.
Torpy discusses MARTA CEO Keith Parker?s ?grand mansion with columns out front? and how workers have not had a raise for years and been in fruitless negotiations since June 2013. Meanwhile Parker and Board Chair Robbie Ashe have developed a scheme to outsource paratransit, even though at his last job Parker co-authored a study criticizing privatizing this type of service.
Read the column, which talks about MARTA workers campaign for a contract including rallies, protests, street action and newspapers ads.
Dallas transit workers hold protest
Dallas transit workers hit the streets outside of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) headquarters to picket the misuse of cameras on Dart Buses and other issues.?Watch video.
The cameras are meant to keep riders and drivers safe, but DART management has been using the footage to harass and spy on operators.
In addition, DART pulled a fast one on the members of Local?1338?by increasing their health care costs by 7% and refusing to carry spouses if his or her job offers insurance. Meanwhile DART CEO Gary Thomas recently received a $150,000 bonus. It?s time for justice at DART.
ATU’s everyday heroes are heroes every day
Are ATU members braver and more compassionate than most people??Judging from the stories people send us every month that would seem to be the case. Here are the latest we?ve received:
Local 627-Cincinnati, OH
Bus operator Jontay Love,?627-Cincinnati, OH, was driving late one night, when he heard gunshots. Then, spotting an injured man on the ground calling for help, he alerted the authorities and stayed with the victim until the police and an ambulance arrived.
?I wanted to help keep him calm. I didn?t want him to panic or go into shock,? Love said. SORTA presented Love with its STAR Award, which acknowledges employees who demonstrate exemplary service to Metro and the community.?Read more.
Local 618-Providence, RI
ATU is proud of three of our Lime Rock firefighters, members of Local?618-Providence, RI, who recently saved an 86-year-old Pawtucket man who suffered a heart attack at the Twin River Casino. They were honored by their fellow firefighters, local officials, and the man they saved.
?Local 842-Wilmington, DE
It?s not always easy to tell the difference between someone who is sleeping and a person, who is having a medical emergency, but Jackie Herbert,?842-Wilmington, DE, took the time to find out.
Herbert was operating his route when a passenger informed him that he had a ?sleeper? in the back.?Herbert attempted to wake the man without success, called ?911? and waited with the rider until EMTs arrived.?The passenger was taken to the hospital and revived.?Herbert received a certificate of recognition for saving the life of a rider in cardiac arrest.
Local 819-Newark, NJ
Rasahida Davis,?819-Newark, NJ, was driving her bus when she noticed that one of her regular passengers did not look well.?She stopped to check on the woman who was having trouble breathing.
She called the control center and likely saved the woman?s life by performing CPR until help arrived. Davis was presented with a NJ Transit Distinguished Service Award for her quick action.
Portland, OR transit workers ratify contract?
For the first time in ten years, Portland, OR transit workers have voted for a new contract. The members of ATU Local 757 ratified the six-year deal with TriMet, which covers around 2,000 workers and 1,200 retirees.
Local?757?President Bruce Hansen praised his bargaining team and the state Conciliator for mediating the settlement as both sides moved forward to resolve outstanding issues. The deal includes wage increases and other improvements.
Hansen noted that there is still one big hurdle. ?The gigantic elephant in the room is that 44-years of TriMet failing to fund promises to its current and future retirees. That is the issue that needs to be addressed in the next two years. It is my hope that the new trend towards cooperation will make that happen.??Read more.
Who knew? Actor Danny Aiello, a former ATU Local president
You may know him from such films as Godfather Part II, Moonstruck, and Bang the Drum Slowly, but before Danny Aiello found fame, he was Local President of ATU Local 1202. He was the youngest in the country at the time.
He was elected in his mid-30?s after being with Greyhound for 10 years, but later lost his post due to an unauthorized ?wildcat? strike.
Aiello said the loss of his job left him floundering with nothing until 1972, when the working bouncer filled in as emcee for a comedy competition, when the original master of ceremonies didn?t show up.
The rest, they say, is history. After his debut performance in Lamppost Reunion, he was already an award-winning actor. He went on to star in dozens of movies, collect more accolades, and eventually wrote an auto-biography titled ?Danny Aiello:?I only know who I am when I am somebody else.My life on the street, on the stage, and in the movies.??Watch interview?of Aiello.