|This week was a very sad one for ATU with the murder of Winnipeg bus driver Irvine “Jubal” Fraser on the job. The Local 1505 member died after a passenger stabbed him, Tuesday morning, at 2 a.m., at the end of his run. The police caught and charged the assailant with second degree murder. ATU International President Larry Hanley called for action to address the growing problem of attacks on bus drivers. “ATU demands that transit agencies and government officials bring the same sense of regret that they will display in the public mourning of this tragic, unnecessary death of our brother to the ongoing discussion about preventing these attacks from occurring.” You can help brother Jubal Fraser’s family by contributing here.
Board overturns MARTA decision to outsource paratransit service
Concluding that MARTA’s chief aim in outsourcing paratransit service was saving money on employee salaries and benefits – in essence, avoiding its obligations under the labor contract, an arbitration board has overturned MARTA’s decision to outsource its paratransit service to MV Transportation. Local 732 called the decision “a victory for everybody that was affected by this outsourcing” pointing out customers also will benefit from having experienced, well-trained drivers. Read more.
ATU Iowa fighting to save collective bargaining
Remember when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took away collective bargaining rights for public employees in 2011? Well now Iowa state legislators are attempting to do the same. And like Wisconsin, ATU Iowa is on the frontlines to stop this attack on unions. Our members flooded the halls of the state capitol with thousands of public employees, union members and supporters to protest the Republican-backed bill that would severely restrict public-sector workers’ ability to negotiate contracts. See photos of rally.
Conservative MPs laugh at Amarjeet Sohi’s past as bus driver
Former Local 569-Edmonton, AB bus driver and current the minister of infrastructure and Liberal MP Amarjeet Sohi, was speaking in the House of Commons about his job as bus driver when he heard laughter from Conservative MPs. Sohi, who spoke at ATU’s recent Convention in Toronto last Fall, didn’t miss a beat. His Liberal colleagues could be seen shaking their heads in disbelief. Afterwards Sohi spoke about the incident saying, “I take pride in my background. I think it does demonstrate a streak of elitist attitude in the Conservative Party, where maybe they don’t appreciate we have working-class people in Parliament in the Liberal government who are making a difference in the lives of Canadians.” Read more.
Local 689 voices concern on possible Metro safety commission
Local 689-Washington, DC has serious concerns about the authority a proposed safety commission would have regarding firing employees. A provision in the bill provides the commission alone sweeping power to recommend suspensions and disqualify an employee that it deems unfit, a Local representative told the Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee at a public hearing. The three jurisdictions, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia must act in concert to pass the measure to create the Metrorail Safety Commission. Read more.
Kelowna bus driver ‘cold-cocked’ on highway
The hits keep coming – literally. This time the attack on a bus driver happen in Kelowna, MB where a disturbed young man punched a female bus driver in the head while she was driving. The driver managed to pull the bus over safely and then the passenger reached across her, stepped on her and crawled out her window. With the recent tragic murder of a Winnipeg bus driver, Local 1722 President Scott Lovell is particularly concerned. “These assaults are not stopping. How many bus drivers need to be killed before you change things for drivers?” Lovell believes the way to make buses safer is the installation of bus driver shields. Read more.
New officers learning the ropes at Tommy Douglas Conference Center
The ATU Tommy Douglas Center was very busy this week. Recently-elected local officers have been taking part in innovative trainings to learn new strategies to make their Locals stronger, and to empower members to get involved and prepare for the battles ahead. The participants are hearing from experts on a wide variety of topics to learn new skills to effectively run their Locals and serve their members. They also get the unique opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with their fellow local officers. Photo gallery.