Archive for November, 2014

Walmart respectOn Black Friday, November 28th, don?t take advantage of store deals; show your solidarity and protest with Walmart workers who have been taken advantage of by the Walton family for far too long.

Walmart has become the poster-child for lousy workplace practices, leading the pack in lawsuits filed by workers, at the rate of 5,000 per year. Walmart employees are severely underpaid, lack respectable work hours and cannot speak out against their conditions without retaliation.

Walmart workers experience the same injustices as some of our members, and it?s up to us to band together when we see economic injustice for anyone in the workplace. No one should have to work day-in and day-out, and still have to rely on food stamps to feed their families and public assistance for housing.

You can show your solidarity with Walmart workers and the Organization United for Respect at (OUR) Walmart by hosting a Black Friday protest or joining planned Black Friday events in your community, or signing a petition.

To join the fight, make a donation, and to learn more visit?Black Friday Protests.


Atlanta transit workers reach deal, MARTA Board tables plan to outsource paratransit Atlanta Transit

?It was was good week for MARTA workers.

After eight years without a raise, a year and a half without a contract, and two months of an aggressive campaign for economic justice by MARTA workers and their allies, ATU Local732-Atlanta and the MARTA have reached a tentative agreement. Local 732 members will vote to ratify the contract this weekend.

The MARTA Board also voted to table their decision to outsource paratransit in response to a cost-saving alternative plan proposed by a coalition of MARTA workers, riders with disabilities, and transit advocates. Local 732 President Curtis Howard noted the Board made a wise decision based on the experience of cities across the country that outsourcing Mobility to a private operator does not ensure a safe, quality and reliable paratransit service.?Read more.

?These are great victories not only for MARTA workers, but for paratransit riders, all working families and our community,? said Howard.? ?Transit workers, paratransit riders, symphony musicians, fast food workers, clergy, union and non-union?folks?united together to fight for respect, dignity and mobility for all. And today we?ve taken a big step in the right direction.??Read more.


Toronto transit workers reveal plan to fix troubled systemToronto Transit

Having heard every possible idea about how to improve Toronto?s once world-renowned transit system from numerous politicians, it was about time that Torontonians heard from the real public transit professionals, the workers who operate the system, members of Local?113-Toronto, ON.

Representing 10,000 operations and maintenance workers at the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Local 113 presented a 160-page report, Toronto?s?Transit Future, that analyzes in detail the many challenges facing the TTC and provides dozens of specific recommendations for addressing them.

?Toronto?s?transit crisis is worse than most people realize,? warns Local President Bob Kinnear. ?It?s time to stop begging and start demanding.?

The Local has launched a special website:?TorontoTransitFuture.ca, which contains the full report, a separate 32-page summary, a short introductory video and other features.

ATU camel in Cleveland for transit worker demonstrationATU Camel

ATU?s now famous 15-foot inflatable camel made the trip to Cleveland to join transit workers at a demonstration outside the headquarters of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

The members of Local?268– Cleveland were out in force calling on management to address concerns about bathroom breaks, safety violations, assaults on transit workers, coaches without working radios and horns, and failure to bargain in good faith. Stay tuned for updates about the fight.


 

Toledo TransitToledo transit workers protest plans to outsource paratransit

Here we go again, another transit system attempting to outsource paratransit.?This time it?s in Toledo and it?s not the first time.

The Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service (TARPS) is looking to outsource the weekend portion of their service to private companies, claiming that outsourcing will directly affect and improve service during the week.

TARTA seems to be suffering from selective amnesia, believing the move would somehow help service now, although in 2008, the reverse was true. They moved from private contractors to in-house drivers and immediately saw a boost in ridership that is now at record levels. The agency claims to suffer from a shortage of?drivers, and seems blind to the fact that they may have an issue with their current contract.

ATU Local?697-Toledo Business Agent Carly Allen vows to fight the outsourcing efforts, citing 30% turnover as the reason for the shortage in drivers, and low pay as the underlying cause of the turnover. TARPS drivers are paid considerably less than their TARTA counterparts, despite the fact operating paratransit equipment requires more work.?Read more.


 

Bus driver assaults up in Edmonton, ABBus driver assaults

In a continuing and disturbing trend across North America, attacks on bus drivers are up again in Edmonton, AB.

There were 50 assaults on bus drivers in 2013, including where the driver was spat upon, assaulted, or threatened. The cause seems to stem from [a small percentage of] the public?s frustration, and 80% of incidents revolve around fare collection. This is up from 2012 and 2011.

Driver assaults also threaten the safety of public, creating a dangerous situation for the operator, the passengers and other vehicles on the road.

ATU Local?569?Edmonton, AB President Steve Bradshaw is looking for something other than ?reactive? enforcement, referring to a federal bill currently making its way through the House of Commons, which would allow judges to impose stiffer sentences, but of course won?t do anything to prevent assaults before they happen. One move he?s hoping for, is the cities new smart card system, which would take fare-collecting out of drivers? hands and hopefully bring these numbers down in the years to come.Read more.

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Remembrance Day November 11/2014

poppy_poppy_flower_flower_215902fallen-soldiers

OTTAWA ? The National War Memorial in Ottawa is always a focal point for Canadians in early November ? but today?s Remembrance Day proceedings carry extra poignancy in the wake of last month?s?attack on Parliament Hill.

The ceremony drew a?crowd?of thousands. The Royal Canadian Legion?says poppy sales have jumped this year to more than 19 million compared with 18 million last year.

What?s more, 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, as well as the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War.

Global News will live stream the?National Ceremony from Ottawa from approximately 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. ET. A?Global National special will also?start at ?10:30 a.m. ET. VisitGlobalnews.ca?for live coverage.

All the while, Canadian fighter pilots are flying in harm?s way over?Iraq.

Princess Anne, only daughter of the Queen, is attending Tuesday?s ceremony with her husband, Vice-Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.

Gov. Gen. David Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper greeted the Princess Royal as she arrived.

They also chatted with Gisele Michaud, the Silver Cross Mother, whose youngest son, Master Cpl. Charles-Philippe Michaud, died of injuries suffered in Afghanistan in 2009.

The ranks of Second World War and Korean veterans are noticeably thinner this year, as the years take their toll.

READ MORE:?Where to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies in Canada

The diplomatic corps are?out in force, along with various veterans groups and young people?s organizations.

The commemoration included the familiar rituals of the piper?s lament, the Last Post, the artillery salute and the recitation of the Act of Remembrance taken from Laurence Binyon?s poem, ?For the Fallen.?

?They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old ??

Courtesy of Global News

ATU mobilizes copyWith 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 inMarta

?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 transitDallas 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, RILocal 618

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?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, NJlocal 819

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.


Portaland OR

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 presidentHP Portrait Studio

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.

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