Archive for March, 2016

Red Blood drive

Blood donors 3Blood donors 2Dear friends from all over the place you are invited to be part of this amazing project to save lives, on April 16th 2016 (Saturday) at 0830hrs at 777 William Ave, in Winnipeg, Manitoba a bunch of operators from different places will be there to donate blood, as a part of this amazing project let me tell you that breakfast will be available.Blood donors Even if you just show up to give us support and also pancakes/waffles will be served too, our ATU 1505 will be part of it and TSHIRTS with the Union logo will be given away.

This is is a public invitation to all of you please be part of it.

If you want to be part of it please contact:

Todd Cucheron 204-997-9177

Hugo Paz 204-962-7960 Text only.

If you send a text message please give us your DOB and your name then we put you on the list for Saturday April the 16th at 0830hrs at 777 William Avenue in Winnipeg Manitoba.

Okay Boys and girls, this the status on the blood drive for this upcoming event Saturday the 16th starting at 0830, people from the Blood clinic (777 William Ave) have made arrangements to accommodate us, we have an extra room for our waffle maker and to take care of our people, they are going to have extra stuff to make this session enjoyable and quick as possible, the ATU will donate some T-shirts for all the participants, and as always free donuts, coffee, tea and nice stuff with big smiles, so, please be part of it and help us to save some lives, I’ll see you on Saturday. Your bro.

Four Benefits of Giving Blood

Someone in the US needs blood every two seconds,2 so if you’re up for doing a good deed, donating blood is a phenomenal choice. More than 41,000 blood donations are needed each day, and because blood cannot be manufactured, the only way to supply this need is via generous blood donors. It’s certainly an altruistic act… but it’s also one that offers important yet little-discussed benefits.

1. Balance Iron Levels in Your Blood

In my view, this is clearly the most important reason. For each unit of blood donated, you lose about one-quarter of a gram of iron.

You may at first think this is a bad thing, since too little iron may lead to fatigue, decreased immunity, or iron-deficiency anemia, which can be serious if left untreated. This is common in children and premenopausal women.

But what many people fail to realize is that too much iron can be worse, and is actually far more common than iron deficiency (especially in men and postmenopausal women).

So for many, the fact that donating blood helps to rid your body of excess iron is one of the greatest benefits it offers. It has been long known that menstruating women have fewer heart attacks. This was previously thought to be due to hormones but is now thought to be due to lower iron levels.

Similar to premenopausal women, blood donors have been found to be 88 percent less likely to suffer from a heart attack,3 and this is thought to be due to its effects on iron levels. Researchers explained:

Because high body iron stores have been suggested as a risk factor for acute myocardial infarction, donation of blood could theoretically reduce the risk by lowering body iron stores.”

Interestingly, in a study published in the April 2013 issue of American Journal of Public Health,4 researchers found that statin cholesterol-lowering drugs improved cardiovascular outcomes at least partially by countering the pro-inflammatory effects of excess iron stores.

In this study, the improved outcomes were associated with lower ferritin (iron) levels but not with “improved” lipid status. Researchers concluded iron reduction might be a safe and low-cost alternative to statins, and according to logic this means that donating your blood, which reduces iron, could potentially help too.

2. Better Blood Flow

Do you know what a high-sugar diet, smoking, radio frequencies, and other toxic electromagnetic forces, emotional stress, anxiety, high cholesterol, and high uric acid levels do to your blood?

All of these make your blood hypercoagulable, meaning it makes it thick and slow moving, which increases your risk of having a blood clot or stroke. Hypercoagulable blood contributes to inflammation, because when your blood does not flow well, oxygen can’t get to your tissues.

For example, early (and some current) birth control pills were notorious for causing heart attacks in women. One of the mechanisms that cause this increased risk is that synthetic estrogens and progesterones increase blood viscosity.

Repeated blood donations may help your blood to flow better, possibly helping to limit damage to the lining of your blood vessels, which should result in fewer arterial blockages. (Grounding can also help to thin dangerously thick blood.) Phillip DeChristopher, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Loyola University Health System blood bank, told TIME:5

What is clear is that blood donors seem to not be hospitalized so often and if they are, they have shorter lengths of stay… And they’re less likely to get heart attacks, strokes, and cancers.”

3. You Get a Mini Physical

Every blood donor gets a “mini physical” prior to donation. Your temperature will be checked along with your blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin. Your blood will also be tested for 13 infectious diseases like HIV, hepatitis B and C, West Nile Virus, and syphilis.

Donating blood is certainly not a replacement for medical care, but it does give you a (free) glimpse into your health (as well as notice if you’ve been exposed to an infectious disease without knowing).

4. A Longer Life

People who volunteer for altruistic reasons, i.e. to help others rather than themselves, appear to live longer than those who volunteer for more self-centered reasons. Altruistic volunteers enjoyed a significantly reduced risk of mortality four years later according to one study,6 with the study’s lead author noting:7

“This could mean that people who volunteer with other people as their main motivation may be buffered from potential stressors associated with volunteering, such as time constraints and lack of pay.”

What You Should Know About Excess Iron Levels

Iron is essential for life, as it is a key part of various proteins and enzymes, involved in the transport of oxygen and the regulation of cell growth and differentiation, among many other uses.

One of the most important roles of iron is to provide hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells that contains iron at its core), a mechanism through which it can bind to oxygen and carry it throughout your tissues, as without proper oxygenation, your cells quickly start dying.

However, because your body has a limited capacity to excrete iron, it can easily build up in organs like your liver, heart, and pancreas. This is dangerous because iron is a potent oxidizer and can damage your body tissues contributing to serious health issues. Cancer researchers have found evidence that bowel cancers are two to three times more likely to develop when dietary iron is too high in your body.8 High iron levels have also been linked to:

Cirrhosis Liver cancer Cardiac arrhythmias
Type one diabetes Alzheimer’s disease Bacterial and viral infections

 

This is a personal issue for me, as getting my dad’s iron levels checked saved his life 20 years ago. I discovered he had a ferritin level close to 1,000. It was because he has beta-thalassemia. With regular phlebotomies, his iron levels normalized and now the only side effect he has is type 1 diabetes. His high iron levels damaged his pancreatic islet cells triggering what is called “bronze” diabetes, and so he requires the use of insulin.

I also inherited beta-thalassemia from him but thankfully, I am able to keep my iron levels normal by removing about a pint of blood a year. This is removed not all at once but over a few dozen deposits. I screen myself with ferritin levels several times a year. I also screened my patients with ferritin levels and noticed nearly one-fourth of them had elevated levels. So I would strongly encourage you and your family to be screened annually for this, as it is SO MUCH easier to prevent iron overload than it is to treat it.

Hemochromatosis is one of the most prevalent genetic diseases in the US. The C282Y gene mutation is thought to be responsible for the majority of hemochromatosis cases. It takes two inherited copies of the mutation (one from your mother and one from your father) to cause the disease (and even then only some people will actually get sick). If you have just one mutation, you won’t become ill but you will absorb slightly more iron than the rest of the population, a trait that may have given people an advantage when dietary sources of iron were scarce.

Rob Ford, former Toronto mayor, dead after battle with cancer

 

Rob Ford 3Rob Ford the Toronto city councillor who became the world’s most famous mayor during a wild, scandal-filled term, is dead at age 46.

The married father of two young children died after 18 months of treatment for a rare and aggressive cancer first diagnosed in the midst of his 2014 bid to be re-elected mayor. Ford would have turned 47 on May 28.

A brief statement from the Ford family announcing the death Tuesday described the former mayor as a “dedicated man of the people” who “spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto.”

“The family will not be making any statements to the media or taking any questions,” the statement said.

Ford underwent surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in May 2015, what was then considered his last chance to survive pleomorphic liposarcoma.

Though the surgery was hailed as a success, the discovery of two new tumours months later merited repeated rounds of chemotherapy that kept him away from the council chamber and his city hall office.

In recent weeks, Ford entered a clinical trial aimed at finding a personalized treatment for his cancer. But the process, which involves implanting a tumour in mice and testing different combinations of drugs, takes four months to complete.

As his health worsened, Ford’s family set up a website for well-wishers to leave messages of support.

“May you have a speedy and successful recovery. Be strong,” said one post left Monday. “We need you as Mayor in 2018 to save Toronto.”

His earlier diagnosis forced Ford to abandon his re-election hopes in September 2014, even as polls suggested he remained a contender. He then coasted to victory in Ward 2 Etobicoke North, which he represented for a decade before his 2010 mayoral triumph.

Last year, after learning multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation had shrunk the original tumour enough to allow surgery, a relieved-looking Ford told reporters: “I’m just lucky to be alive today, and I’m just lucky to get another chance at life … At least I have a chance.”

He also thanked people “from all over the world” who had inundated him with hopeful messages.

The rumpled populist spent the months following surgery as he had the previous 15 years — immersed in politics. He attacked Mayor John Tory’s positions at city hall, gathering ammunition for a declared 2018 mayoral comeback.

Robert Bruce Ford, the son of self-made millionaire Doug Ford Sr. and Diane Ford, worked for the family label-making company before deciding to follow his father, a one-term Progressive Conservative MPP, into politics.

He failed to win an Etobicoke council seat in 1997 but, after the 2000 election, started a decade-long tenure that saw him rail against perceived overspending and face criticism for caustic insults and off-colour comments.

Ford built a profile on talk radio as a plain-spoken champion of the little guy, always eager to get a pothole fixed, and parlayed that into a 2010 mayoral bid that quickly gained steam and shot him into the mayor’s chair.

He at first seemed invincible, unilaterally declaring former mayor David Miller’s Transit City light rail plan dead and convincing council to quickly axe the vehicle registration tax, declare the TTC an essential service and reduce councillor office budgets.

But Ford’s grip on council slipped. He lost battles on the Port Lands and 2012 budget amid seemingly endless controversy that included his use of city staff to coach football and calling police on a comedian at his house.

Ford’s penchant for rule-breaking seemed his undoing after a judge ordered him ejected from office over a conflict of interest, but an appeal court rescued him on a technicality.

In 2013, the Star revealed that Ford had attended a military ball intoxicated and then that a cellphone video apparently showed him smoking crack.

That bombshell triggered months of controversy and worldwide headlines as Ford angrily denied, and then finally admitted, abusing drugs and alcohol. Council stripped him of most of his powers.

He emerged from rehab apologetic but eager to put the past behind him and win re-election. His legion of diehard “Ford Nation” supporters seemed ready to give him another chance.

In October 2014, following his re-election as councillor and in between chemotherapy treatments, Ford talked to reporters about his legacy.

“People know that I saved a lot of money, and people are going to know that I had a few personal struggles,” he said.

“So you can remember it for what you want, but they’re definitely going to remember it.”

Ford is survived by his wife Renata, children Stephanie and Douglas, mother Diane, brothers Doug and Randy, and sister Kathy.

Dozens Killed In Terror Attacks In Brussels

 

We condemned this terrorist acts that take the lives of innocent people in any part of the world, we have to be united more than ever to avoid this atrocities.  More than 30 people were reported dead following terrorist attacks at the Brussels Airport and a train station at the Belgian capital. Meanwhile, security at SFO remains at normal levels.

Please watch the video

Terrorist attacks in Brussels

 

St. Louis members praised for heroism

St. Louis, MO, bus operators Bryant Goston, Bryan Moore and Richard Hines were recognized for their heroism andLocal788heromembers bravery after assisting motorists trapped in a burning overturned car earlier this month. The three members of Local 788 were on a break when they heard the unmistakable sound of two vehicles colliding. They ran over to investigate and found that one vehicle had overturned and was on fire, trapping four people inside. They grabbed the fire extinguishers from their buses and jumped into action, pulling the victims from the burning car, quickly extinguishing the flames, and keeping bystanders safe as they contacted emergency responders. “We didn’t do this for any type of self-gratification,” said Moore. “We were just doing our jobs.” ATU salutes these three for going above and beyond.

D.C. Circulator Workers Rally Protest Safety Concerns, Poverty Wages at Wilson Building

ATU supportWashington, DC – Demanding wages that allow them to live in the city that they serve, dozens of transit workers who operate the D.C. Circulator – a District-controlled bus service funded by the District Department of Transportation and operated by private multinational First Transit – rallied outside of the Wilson Building.After the rally, the Circulator workers represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1764 will stream into a Council DDOT oversight hearing, where bus driver Flynne Burke will testify about the struggles he and his co-workers face while running one of the region’s most popular services. He will reiterate the union’s request that Mayor Bowser or the Council allocate an initial $3 million into DDOT’s budget to help bring Circulator operator wages to parity with equal-seniority Metrobus operators.

“You can stand on the corner just a couple of blocks from the Wilson Building and watch a D.C. Circulator and a Metrobus glide by each other on the same street,” said ATU International President Larry Hanley. “But what you don’t see is that the Metrobus driver makes a living wage and earns a dignified pension, while the Circulator driver makes almost $8 less an hour, probably works a second job, and can work her whole life without expecting to earn enough to retire.”

“How can you justify having two people do the same job on behalf of public agencies in the same city but relegate one of them to a life of poverty?” Hanley continued. “They both work tough jobs, both face angry riders and even assaults, both serve the nation’s capital with pride. It’s outrageous that Mayor Bowser and the DC Council shirk responsibility for overseeing the sweatshop on wheels that is the DC Circulator.”

According to MIT’s Living Wage calculator, a living wage in the District of Columbia for one adult with one child is $30.42 per hour. The average wage of a CDL-certified D.C. Circulator driver is $18 per hour.

The ATU says that the average Circulator driver relies on a second job or public assistance to make ends meet in one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the United States. This strain has led to high turnover. Circulator workers often stay only 2-3 years before leaving to find more stable work, an astronomical turnover rate that threatens to lead to a decline in service quality as the system ages. The union has also raised concerns about the safety of the system, noting that that lax safety oversight has led to uncertified supervisors, rather than certified mechanics, signing buses into service despite drivers reporting maintenance issues.

Public transit must be reliable, affordable

Niagara bus systemThere was a time when he paid $160 a month for a bus that got him to work three hours too early.

And all he could do was resign himself to the fact that he was dependant on a bus schedule that wasn’t in synch with his life.

Not too long ago, Roderick Davidson, 44, lived in Welland and worked a night shift in Niagara Falls. Every night he’d catch the last Niagara Region Transit bus that left the terminal in downtown Welland, a short walk from his home.

The Route 65 bus pulled out at 8 p.m., and dropped him off at Niagara Square in the Falls, near his work, at 8:22 p.m. Problem was, he didn’t start work until 11:30 p.m. And that left him with three hours to kill before putting in an eight-hour shift.

“I’m glad they have the regional bus, but it’s just terrible hours,” he says.

He once missed it and couldn’t get to work. It needs to run later, for people who don’t work regular day jobs, he says.

“It’s an awful big chunk of money to spend for a service that got me to work three hours early,” he says.

A regional transit monthly pass is $160, a significant portion of his minimum-wage, $11.25-an-hour job.

Davidson also had to tell his employer that he couldn’t work weekends because there is no regional bus service on Sundays, or statutory holidays. In effect, he could get to work on a Saturday, but on Sunday he wouldn’t have a return ride home, or be able to get to work at night.

“You can stress out. But what’s the point in stressing out over something you can’t change,” he says.

“You just make the best out of a bad situation.”

He has since been transferred to Welland, where he walks to work.

Transit in Niagara is both inconvenient and costly for people who rely on it for the basics of life, says Rhonda Barron, who heads Niagara Poverty Reduction Network’s transportation working group.

The NPRN committee has joined forces with several other groups across the region including Niagara Sustainability Initiative, student unions at both Niagara College and Brock University, and a coalition of bus drivers and transit union reps, to explore solutions to a host of transit issues.

Anyone, like Davidson, who relies on riding a bus to work, often faces long trips due to infrequent buses (regional transit runs every hour), time spent waiting to transfer, and schedules that don’t reflect the realities of many jobs in Niagara that are not 9 to 5, she says.

Some examples:

Angela Browne is a paralegal with an office in downtown St. Catharines. Her family — Angela, her husband and high-school aged daughter — spend a total of $246 a month on St. Catharines transit passes. They do not own a car.

“One problem is we have a bus service that runs every hour a night,” she says. “People find it inconvenient, and as a result, transit says there’s less demand.”

Margaret Gilbert is a bus driver in Niagara Falls, and president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1582.

“Public transit needs to be more reliable for locals,” she says.

“They need to have a bus when they get off work late at night, or early in the morning.”

And their commute shouldn’t consume more time than absolutely necessary, she says.

Case in point: the decision to eliminate the regional transit bus route into the downtown Niagara Falls bus terminal. Currently, regional riders coming from St. Catharines need to transfer to a Niagara Falls city bus at the Target Plaza stop (Morrison Street and Dorchester Road), and face a less-direct route into the downtown. That change added another 45 minutes to their commute. So now, going from downtown St. Catharines to downtown Niagara Falls takes just shy of two hours, says Gilbert.

And forget about taking regional transit if you work at the Outlet Collection at Niagara mall in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The last bus leaves before the mall closes, she says.

Tikvah Mindorff is executive director of Niagara Sustainability Initiative in St. Catharines.

“People who make the decisions for transit should be people who use transit,” she says.

Before she bought a car, which she shares with her partner, she rode either a bike or the bus.

Transit must be attractive to everyone, even to people who can afford a vehicle, she says. But in Niagara, and St. Catharines specifically, transit is so inefficient, only people who have no other option use it.

“The minute you can afford a car you get one because transit is so bad,” she says.

“The 9-to-5ers don’t take it because it takes forever to get anywhere.

“Why would you spend 45 minutes going two kilometres when you can walk or drive it faster?”

In general, commuting within the downtown is good. But as soon as you need to travel anywhere else in St. Catharines, it becomes an exercise in transfers and longer-than-necessary commutes, she says.

Case in point: A few years ago, she lived near Carlton and Niagara streets and worked at a pub at MacTurnbull Drive and Vansickle Road. Her ride to work involved two buses and a 15-minute transfer delay at the downtown terminal (if the first bus arrived on time), and the entire trip lasted over 3/4 of an hour. The route by car is about 7.5 km and takes roughly 15 minutes.

Another time, she lived downtown and worked at Tim Hortons on Fourth Avenue. She needed to be at work for 4 a.m. While there was a bus stop directly in front of her home, it didn’t operate at the time she needed it. So, she had to bike to work.

And then there’s the cost of bus fare. Across Canada, there are 15 communities that offer transit discounts for riders whose income is below the poverty line — typically called the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO), says Barron, of the poverty network. Most of the programs are funded from the municipal tax base.

In Niagara, subsides are limited. Some examples: people on Ontario Works who are looking for work, or people on OW or the Ontario Disability Support Program who need transportation for medical reasons. The benefits are cost-shared with the province, says Sarah Pennisi, director of social assistance and employment opportunities.

The province pays just more than 95 per cent, the region almost six per cent. Eligibility is assessed case by case, she says.

There are no transit subsidies for the working poor.

Simply put, a bus means freedom for Irene Motz. She’s had a monthly transit pass subsidized for the last two years. But it didn’t happen without a lot of tireless self-advocacy and letter writing at a time in her life when she was new to Ontario Works and still trying to navigate a complicated social security system.

These days she uses her life experience to advocate for transit rebates for all low-income riders.

On OW, or a limited income, people simply can’t afford the $92-a-month St. Catharines transit pass, or even a $6-a-ride cash fare. Low-income riders should at least be eligible for the same $57-a-month reduced pass available to seniors, she says. And the $7 daily family pass, valid on weekends, needs to be extended to weekdays, she says.

Politicians need to recognize the improved quality of life that comes with a bus pass.

“It’s about the freedom to do what I have a passion for doing,” she says. “Without it, you’re isolated. It’s confining. It’s psychologically very draining.

“I’ve taken that bus pass and used it to move my life forward.”

Motz rides the bus to attend meetings, see her grandchildren, do volunteer work and to stay socially connected.

“It’s about everyone having access to the same reliable, affordable bus transportation,” she says.

“It’s not a luxury to go where you need to go.”

 

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