2 0 0 8
j u ly / a u g u s t
Official Journal of the Amalgamated Transit Union AFL-CIO/CLC
OBAMA INSIDE THIS ISSUE: ATU Activist
Saskatoon Member Runs for Parliament
Easing The Squeeze
H.R. 6052 Will Help Public Transportation Cope With Increased Costs, Ridership
Canadians Fight Transit Terrorism Report from Canadian Council Meeting Why Working Families Need Labor Law Reform
AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION INTERNATIONAL OFFICERS WARREN S. GEORGE International President
MICHAEL J. SIANO
International Executive Vice President
International Vice Presidents TOMMY MULLINS Roanoke, VA – firstname.lastname@example.org
JOSEPH WELCH Syracuse, NY
New Orleans, LA – email@example.com
DONALD T. HANSEN
Tenino, WA – firstname.lastname@example.org
MESSAGE DU PRÉSIDENT INTERNATIONAL PAR WARREN S. GEORGE FIER DE SOUTENIR BARACK OBAMA Comme beaucoup d’Américains je suis enthousiasmé par les prochaines élections présidentielles. Il y a une énergie et un enthousiasme en ce moment comme il n’y en a pas eu depuis longtemps. Pendant les primaires, les électeurs sont allés aux urnes en nombre record et il semble que ce record sera battu le 4 novembre prochain. Les personnes appelées à voter aux Etats Unis sont prêtes pour le changement. C’est une opinion qui est partagée par la plupart des citoyens du monde, y compris nos voisins canadiens. Nous sommes prêts pour de nouvelles politiques mondiale et économique. Nous sommes prêts pour que notre gouvernement s’engage véritablement envers nos travailleurs, nos familles, nos retraités et nos soldats. Nous sommes prêts pour ne plus adhérer aux politiques désastreuses de l’Administration Bush et pour commencer une nouvelle page aux Etats Unis. Les bons emplois américains Barack Obama, le présumé démocrate nominé, offre aux électeurs américains ce type de changement. Il nous promet et s’engage à investir à nouveau dans des bons emplois américains, à procéder au rapatriement de nos troupes et à protéger notre environnement. Ce sont les raisons pour lesquelles je suis fier de soutenir la candidature de Barack Obama à la présidence des Etats Unis. Comme vous le savez, l’ATU n’a pas soutenu initialement la candidature du Sénateur Obama lors des primaires. En novembre dernier, après avoir conduit une enquête approfondie auprès de nos membres et après une analyse réfléchie des politiques et de l’expérience des candidats, l’ATU avait soutenu la candidature d’Hillary Clinton. Le Sénateur Clinton a été une grande amie de l’ATU et nous sommes fiers de l’endurance et de l’engagement dont elle a fait preuve pendant les dures batailles des primaires.
ROBERT H. BAKER
C’est le moment de nous unir
LARRY R. KINNEAR
Ceci étant dit, les primaires sont finies et il est maintenant temps de nous unir pour apporter notre soutien au candidat qui représente le mieux les intérêts des travailleurs et des travailleuses américains. Il n’y a aucun doute, Barack Obama est ce candidat.
Le Sénateur Obama a démontré pendant les primaires qu’il a, comme le Sénateur Clinton, la capacité et la détermination nécessaires à l’accomplissement de ces objectifs. Non seulement il suscite de l’espoir et fait des promesses, mais en plus il a démontré qu’il peut tenir ses engagements.
Washington, DC – email@example.com Ashburn, ON – firstname.lastname@example.org Gloucester, ON – email@example.com
JAVIER M. PEREZ, JR.
Kansas City, MO – firstname.lastname@example.org
RICHARD M. MURPHY Braintree, MA
Alors que le prix de l’essence a atteint les sommets le plus hauts, que dans tout le pays les propriétaires de logements doivent faire face à des liquidations, et que le coût des soins médicaux continue à grimper, nous avons besoin d’un leader comme Barack Obama. J’espère que vous vous joindrez à moi pour le soutenir dans sa candidature à la présidence des Etats Unis.
BOB M. HYKAWAY
Calgary, AB – email@example.com
Petaluma, CA – firstname.lastname@example.org
WILLIAM G. McLEAN
Reno, NV – email@example.com
RONALD J. HEINTZMAN
Mt. Angel, OR – firstname.lastname@example.org
JANIS M. BORCHARDT
Madison, WI – email@example.com
Canton, MI – firstname.lastname@example.org
LAWRENCE J. HANLEY
Staten Island, NY – email@example.com
KENNETH R. KIRK
Lancaster, TX – firstname.lastname@example.org
Clayton, NC – email@example.com
International Representatives RAY RIVERA
Lilburn, GA– firstname.lastname@example.org
Flossmoor, IL – email@example.com
Thornton, CO – firstname.lastname@example.org
Canadian Council ROBIN G. WEST
Canadian Director 61 International Boulevard, Suite 210 Rexdale, ON M9W 6K4 email@example.com
UN MENSAJE DEL PRESIDENTE INTERNACIONAL POR WARREN S. GEORGE MUY ORGULLOSO DE NUESTRO APOYO A BARACK OBAMA De la misma manera que muchos otros Americanos, yo estoy muy entusiasmado con relación a la próxima elección presidencial. En estos momentos hay una gran energía y entusiasmo en el país, como no ha existido en historia reciente. Durante la temporada de elecciones primarias, los votantes comparecieron a los comicios en enormes multitudes, y es muy posible que esos récords de votación sean altamente superados el día 4 de noviembre. Los votantes en Estados Unidos están listos para un cambio en el país. Esta es una opinión que es compartida por la mayoría de los ciudadanos del mundo, incluyendo a nuestros miembros en el Canadá. Nosotros estamos listos para nuevas políticas económicas y globales. Nosotros estamos listos para que nuestro gobierno asuma un real compromiso con los trabajadores, nuestras familias, nuestros jubilados y nuestros soldados. Nosotros estamos listos para dar un paso adelante dejando atrás las fallidas políticas de la Administración Bush y comenzar un nuevo día en América. Buenos Empleos Americanos Barack Obama, el presunto candidado del partido Demócrata le está ofreciendo a los votantes Americanos ese tipo de cambio. Él nos está ofreciendo una promesa y un compromiso de re-invertir nuestros recursos en buenos empleos Americanos, de traer de regreso a casa nuestras tropas, y a proteger nuestro medio ambiente. Por eso es que yo estoy muy orgulloso de apoyar a Barack Obama en sus esfuerzos de ganar la Presidencia de los Estados Unidos. Como ustedes saben, la ATU inicialmente no endosó al Senador Obama en las elecciones primarias democráticas. El pasado noviembre, después de una profunda encuesta de nuestros miembros y de un cuidadoso análisis de las políticas y experiencias que se ofrecían por todos los candidatos, la ATU endosó la candidatura de Hillary Clinton. La Senadora Clinton ha sido una gran amiga de la ATU y nosotros estamos orgullosos de la resistencia y del cometido que ella demostró durante las arduas batallas de las elecciones primarias. Pero Para Todos Nosotros Ha Llegado la Hora de Unirnos Habiendo hecho esa declaración, la temporada primaria ha terminado, y ha llegado para todos nosotros la hora de unirnos en apoyo del candidato que mejor representará los intereses de los hombres y mujeres trabajadoras de América. Sin duda alguna, Barack Obama es ese candidato. El Senador Obama demostró durante estas primarias que, de la misma manera que la Senadora Clinton, él tiene la determinación y las agallas para realizar esos objetivos. No solamente él ofrece inspiración y promesa, pero también ha demostrado que él puede llevar adelante sus promesas. En una época cuando los precios de la gasolina son los más altos de nuestra historia, cuando los propietarios de sus hogares por todo el país están enfrentando posibles ejecuciones de sus hipotecas, y cuando los precios del cuidado de la salud continúan a ir por los cielos, nosotros necesitamos de un líder como Barack Obama. Yo espero que todos ustedes se unan a mí en darle a Barack Obama todo nuestro apoyo para Presidente de los Estados Unidos.
A MESSAGE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT
PROUD TO STAND BEHIND
BARACK OBAMA L
ike a lot of Americans, I am excited about the upcoming U.S. presidential election. There is an energy and enthusiasm this time around like nothing in recent history. During the primary season, voters went to the polls in record numbers and it is likely those records will be shattered on November 4. Voters in the United States are ready for change. It is a view shared by most of the world’s citizens, including our Canadian members. We are ready for new economic and global policies. We are ready for our government to make a real commitment to our workers, our families, our retirees and our soldiers. We are ready to move on from the failed policies of the Bush Administration and start a new day in America.
GOOD AMERICAN JOBS
‘Time for us all to come together ...’
Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is offering American voters that kind of change. He is offering us a promise and a commitment to reinvest in good American jobs, to bring our troops home, and to protect our environment. That is why I am proud to stand behind Barack Obama in his bid for the U.S. presidency. As you know, the ATU did not initially endorse Senator Obama in the Democratic primary. Last November, after in-depth polling of our members and careful analysis of the policies and experience being offered by the candidates, the ATU endorsed Hillary Clinton. Senator Clinton has been a great friend to the ATU and we are proud of the endurance and commitment she showed during the hard fought primary.
TIME FOR US ALL TO COME TOGETHER That said, the primary is over, and it is time for us all to come together to support the candidate who will best represent the interests of the working men and women of America. Without question, Barack Obama is that candidate. Senator Obama showed during this primary that, like Senator Clinton, he has the grit and determination to accomplish his goals. Not only does he offer inspiration and promise, but he has shown that he can follow through. At a time when gas prices are at an all time high, homeowners across the country are facing foreclosures, and health care costs are continuing to sky rocket, we need a leader like Barack Obama. I hope you will all join me in supporting him for president.
2008 Vol. 117, No. 4
w w w . a t u . o r g
International Officers & General Executive Board
International President’s Message in French & Spanish
International President’s Message Proud to Stand Behind Barack Obama
International Executive Vice President’s Message The Renaissance of Transit
International SecretaryTreasurer’s Message One Vote Can Make All The Difference
News From The Front Lines Why Working Families Need Labor Law Reform
ATU Endorses Barack Obama
News From the Front Lines
ATU Endorses Barack Obama Candidate Will Work to Improve Quality of Life of Transit Employees
Legislative Report Easing the Squeeze - H.R. 6052 Will Help Public Transportation Cope With Increased Costs, Ridership.
Stop the Violence
ATU Activist: Patti Gieni
13 Stop the Violence Canadian Members Fight Violence Against Transit Workers 14 Support Fuel Subsidies for U.S. Mass Transit 15 GEB Minutes: Excerpts, April 29-30, 2008 22 Labor Lingo: D to G
Legislative Report: Easing the Squeeze H.R. 6052 Will Help Public Transportation Cope with Increased Costs, Ridership
10 Canadian Council Holds Annual Conference in Halifax 11
Why Working Families Need Labor Law Reform
Canadian Members Fight Violence Against Transit Workers
Saskatoon Member Runs for Parliament
23 Arbitration Decisions 24 Local News 25 ATU Training and Events 26 In Memoriam 27 ATU Activist: Patti Gieni Saskatoon Member Runs for Parliament 28 International President George Asks For Your Help in Aiding ATU Flood Victims
Subscription: USA and Canada, $5 a year. Single copy: 50 cents. All others: $10 a year. Published bimonthly by the Amalgamated Transit Union, Editor: Shawn Perry, Assistant: Paul A. Fitzgerald. Editorial Office: 5025 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20016-4139. Tel: 1-202-537-1645. Please send all requests for address changes to the ATU Registry Dept. ISSN: 0019-3291, USPS: 260-280. PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40033361. RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO: B&M Mailing Service Limited, 35 Van Kirk Drive, Unit 15, Brampton, Ontario L7A 1A5, E-MAIL-BMCOMM@PATHCOM.COM The objects of this International Union shall be to organize Local Unions; to place our occupation upon a higher plane of intelligence, efficiency and skill; to encourage the formation in Local Unions of sick and funeral benefit funds in order that we may properly care for our sick and bury our dead; to encourage the organization of cooperative credit unions in the Local Unions; to establish schools of instruction for imparting a practical knowledge of modern and improved methods and systems of transportation and trade matters generally; to encourage the settlement of all disputes between employees and employers by arbitration; to secure employment and adequate pay for our work, including vacations with pay and old age pensions; to reduce the hours of labor and by all legal and proper means to elevate our moral, intellectual and social condition. To engage in such legislative, political, educational, cultural, social, and welfare activities as will further the interests and welfare of the membership of the Organization. To seek the improvement of social and economic conditions in the United States and Canada and to promote the interests of labor everywhere.
A MESSAGE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
The Renaissance of
hen I was growing up in New Jersey in the 1940’s, only the rich people had cars. If my family needed to go someplace, we took the bus. And we were not alone. In 1946, U.S. transit ridership reached its all-time high of 23.4 billion.
RIDERSHIP PLUMMETED IN THE 50’S In the early 1950’s, the state built the New Jersey Turnpike. Neighboring states started building similar roadways. Transit ridership plummeted. Private bus companies which had been around since the horse and buggy days started going out of business. During the next six decades, more highways were built and cars became SUVs. Many families had more than one. And why not? They were fun to drive, and gas was cheap. Until now.
‘This is a moment we must seize.’
Today, automobile sales, especially SUVs, are plummeting. And as I look out my window here in Washington, I see standing-room-only on the buses going up and down Wisconsin Avenue. As the price of gas has skyrocketed, more people are getting on the bus. U.S. and Canadian commuters are setting ridership records every day.
TRANSIT NOW PAYING NEARLY 50% MORE FOR FUEL As people across the continent abandon their cars for the bus or the train, transit service should be expanding and ATU membership should be growing. However, the opposite is happening. Transit agencies are now paying nearly 50 percent more for diesel fuel than this time last year. As a result, layoffs and service cuts are occurring at transit systems throughout North America. ATU members in the U.S. can help turn this situation around by urging their Senators to pass legislation that would provide fuel subsidies to transit agencies. In Canada, it’s time that we get behind mayors all across the country who are lobbying federal and provincial governments for more cash for transit rather than hitting taxpayers with higher property taxes.
SEIZE THE MOMENT While other unions are shrinking in size and influence, this is a moment in our history that we must seize. Global warming, endless traffic congestion, and obscene gas prices are pushing people to mass transit. Let’s embrace this opportunity. How often do you get a chance to do what is right not only for your wallet, but also your planet? Please join the campaign today (see article on page 14).
A MESSAGE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY-TREASURER
Can Make All the Difference
T ‘There is no
excuse what so ever for not registering and voting this year.’
he ability to vote is the right and the duty of all citizens. We know from the troubled history of the U.S. that it took too long for that right to be granted to all citizens. Before the passage of the Voting Rights Act, in a speech at the Lincoln Memorial on May 17, 1957, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said:
All types of conniving methods are still being used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters. The denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic traditions and it is democracy turned upside down.
So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind — it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact — I can only submit to the edict of others.
In my lifetime, that right has never been more important than it is in this upcoming U.S. election. Not only do we need to win the White House, but we need to win enough seats to veto-proof the U.S. Senate.
NO EXCUSE There is no excuse whatsoever for not registering and voting this year. We now have national registration and it is just this easy. If you are not registered, go to https://ssl.capwiz.com/aflcio/e4/nvra. to register to vote. Get your children over 18 to register, your family, your friends, and your neighbors. Elections are only won because we exercise our right to vote. How important is voting? Did you know… • That several states, including California, Idaho, Oregon, Texas and Washington, became states by just ONE vote? • That in 1948, Lyndon B. Johnson, our 36th president, became a U.S. senator by a ONE vote margin? • And that same year, if Thomas E. Dewey had gotten ONE vote more per precinct in Ohio and California, the presidential election would have been thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives, where Dewey enjoyed more support than his rival – incumbent Harry S. Truman?
REGISTER AND VOTE Each and every vote is the voice of a citizen of the United States. It is your one voice speaking out that can change the course of history for working men and women. You and everyone you know should REGISTER TODAY. You can find the state registration deadlines at http://rockthevote.com/voting-is-easy/important-dates/. Remember just one vote can make all the difference in your future.
N E W S
F R O M
T H E
FRONT LINES Why Working Families Need Labor Law Reform he Amalgamated Transit Union knows a thing or two about the inequality of power between employers and their employees.
mislead, harass, intimidate, threaten and coerce workers who are seeking to form a union.
We see workers everywhere who want to form unions so they can have a voice on the job to improve their lives, their families and their communities. All workers deserve to make a free and fair decision on whether to form a union.
Almost all employers in the private sector use captive audience meetings and one-on-one pressure meetings as tactics to suppress workers’ union organizing drives. Employers also use long administrative and procedural delays to prevent workers from organizing unions. In addition, when workers succeed in forming a union — despite these and many other obstacles — managements often stonewall and bargain in bad faith, preventing workers from reaping the benefits of collective bargaining at least one-third of the time.
EMPLOYER PENALTIES TOO WEAK Many employers who violate labor laws are never punished. When employers who break the law are punished, the penalties are too weak to deter the unscrupulous ones from doing it again and again. Participants at the recent Western Organizing Conference.
In 1935, Congress passed and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act, giving American workers the right to form unions and negotiate contracts with their employers. Under that law, workers have the right to express their views on unions, to talk with their co-workers about a union, to wear union buttons, to attend union meetings and to decide for themselves whether or not they want union representation, without interference by management.
For example, when employers break the law, they just have to post a blue and white sign in the break room saying they broke the law. When employers illegally fire pro-union workers, the most the workers can collect is back pay minus whatever they earned in the interim.
However, workers’ freedom of association in the United States is violated routinely, protections for workers forming unions are inadequate and enforcement of existing law is much too weak.
LABOR LAW DOESN’T WORK ANYMORE But today, we’re seeing how the law puts nearly all of the power in the hands of the boss. The law just isn’t working anymore.
Participants at the recent Western Organizing Conference.
Working families are paying a big price for employers’ interference in workers’ freedom to choose a union and for the government’s unwillingness to protect basic rights in the workplace. The law is not protecting the rights of workers who want a voice on the job. Rather, it is protecting the freedom of employers and their hired consultants to
Even with all of these obstacles in the U.S., ATU is continuing to organize and grow in the transit industry. After the next president signs the Employee Free Choice Act, perhaps workers then will be on a level playing field (as they are in many Canadian provinces) when organizing their union. Please visit: www.freechoiceact.org/page/s/atu
BARACK OBAMA O
n June 17, the ATU General Executive Board voted unanimously to endorse Senator Barack Obama, D-IL, for the U.S. presidency. Just over a week later, the AFL-CIO likewise endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee – solidifying Obama’s support among the men and women in organized labor. In announcing the ATU’s endorsement, International President Warren S. George stated that he believes Obama “will work to improve the quality of life of transit employees across the nation, as well as all Americans from all backgrounds. Our great nation will surely prosper under his guidance and leadership, and the ATU is eager to work with him to advance and improve America.”
Despite his reputation as a maverick, McCain voted with President Bush 95 percent of the time last year (89 percent overall since Bush took office). Working families cannot take four more years of Bush policies. For more on where Obama and McCain stand on important working family issues, check out http://www.workingfamiliesvote2008.com.
‘I am proud to stand with ATU…’ – Barack Obama
ATU WILL MOBILIZE, EDUCATE Together with the AFL-CIO and its affiliates, the ATU will work to mobilize and educate union members and retirees throughout the U.S. The AFL-CIO has pledged to organize its largest-ever political mobilization. From now through November, some 250,000 union volunteers will talk to their colleagues, neighbors and fellow union members about how Obama will turn around America and ensure working families make their voices heard by voting in November. Obama, who has voted with working families and our Union 98 percent of the time, is committed to creating good, middle-class jobs and wants to end tax breaks for corporations that send jobs overseas. He will make health care available to all, lower costs and make sure no one can be denied care. He strongly supports the freedom of workers to form unions and bargain for a better life and has walked side by side with workers on picket lines and in organizing and bargaining campaigns again and again.
OBAMA THANKS ATU FOR ENDORSEMENT Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic U.S. presidential nominee, in a letter dated July 8, thanked International President Warren S. George and the entire Union for the ATU’s endorsement of his candidacy. In the letter (right) Obama underlines issues of importance to the Union and all of Labor, and reinforces all of the reasons that the ATU is mobilizing to elect him president in the fall.
STRONG SUPPORTER OF TRANSIT LABOR PROTECTIONS On issues specific to ATU members, Obama’s support is strong. He is a strong supporter of public transit and has pledged to support the preservation of Section 13(c) transit labor protections. Obama’s opponent, John McCain, represents more of the same. McCain is a self-proclaimed free-trader who has helped ship jobs oversees. He is an opponent of federal funding for public transportation and voted to lessen Section 13(c) transit labor protections. He wants to tax our health care benefits and leave workers on their own at the mercy of big insurance companies. McCain tried to repeal the minimum wage, and he continues to support tax breaks for Big Oil.
CANADIAN COUNCIL HOLDS ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN HALIFAX The ATU Canadian Council held its annual Conference, June 4 â€“ 7, in Halifax, NS.
The Council Conference in session: From left are some of the Canadian Council Executive Board, including, Geoff Devlin, Board Member West; Monica Chambers, Board Member East; Nick Bye, Secretary to the Board; Mike Mahar, Executive Vice Chair; Canadian Director Robin West; and Phil Hotte, Board Member East.
From left, International Secretary-Treasurer Oscar Owens and International President Warren S. George listen as Transport Critic Brian Masse is introduced.
International President Warren S. George addresses the Conference.
International Secretary-Treasurer Oscar Owens speaks to the Conference.
New members elected to Canadian Council Board in a by-election were sworn-in by International President George. From left, are Geoff Devlin, Board Member West; Stu Litwinowich, Alternate Board Member West; Monica Chambers, Board Member East; Mike Parkinson, Alternate Board Member East; Phil Hotte, Board Member East; and Mike Ehmann, Alternate Board member East.
LEGISL A TI V E
R EPO R T :
H.R. 6052 will help public transportation cope with increased costs, ridership. by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-MN
ublic transportation workers have been thrust to the front lines in the battle against high fuel costs. With gas prices going through the roof, more and more Americans are parking their cars and turning to public transportation.
Several public transit systems are reporting increases in ridership of five, ten, and even 15 percent over last year’s figures. Light rail systems saw the largest jump in ridership with a 10 percent increase to 110 million trips in the first quarter. Some of the biggest increases in ridership are occurring in many areas in the South and West where new bus and light rail lines have been built in the last few years.
We’re seeing record levels of transit ridership all across the country, and falling numbers of miles traveled in cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks. Without a doubt, many Americans are making these choices based on the economic pinch caused by the high price of gas. However, in my discussions with constituents in my district and people across the country, Americans are also considering transit alternatives for a number of other reasons: because they also want to help curb carbon emissions, they’re sick and tired of clogged streets and highways, or they think it’s wrong that our great nation imports 60 percent of its oil, much of it from the Persian Gulf.
In Denver, for example, ridership was up eight percent in the first three months of 2008, compared with last year, and Minneapolis, Seattle, Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Francisco all reported similar increases. The Charlotte Area Transit System, which recently opened a new light rail line, has increased ridership more than 34 percent from February 2007 to February 2008. Caltrain, the commuter rail line that serves the San Francisco Peninsula and the Santa Clara Valley, set a record for average weekday ridership in February with a 9.3 percent increase over 2007. The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which operates a commuter rail system from Miami to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, posted a rise of more than 20 percent in ridership in March and April as compared to the same time last year.
Public transportation reduces gas consumption by 1.4 billion gallons a year (3.9 million gallons per day), which equates to more than 33 million barrels of oil. It’s equal to 108 million fewer cars filling up year.
Across America, public transportation has experienced a renaissance. In 2007, Americans took more than 10.3 billion trips on public transportation, the highest level in 50 years. In the first quarter of 2008, commuters took more than 2.6 billion transit trips nationwide, an increase of 3.3 percent over the first quarter of 2007.
Americans are proving that riding transit is an easy, immediate, and important part of the solution to decreasing our demand for foreign oil. However, meeting this impressive new demand for public transportation services is no small task for our transit agencies. With
these record-breaking numbers of commuters riding transit, many of our nation’s transit systems are busting at the seams. In addition, the cost of fuel and electric power for public transportation providers has sharply increased, compounding costs of serving all of these new transit riders.
reduction of more than eight million gallons of gasoline for each of the three years that they studied. DOT also studied the results of a nationwide pilot program and found that, within the three participating agencies, 11 percent of the commuting workers shifted their travel mode to public transportation, again producing marked energy savings.
TRANSIT PASS BENEFITS DOT recommends that the transit pass benefits program be extended to Federal employees nationwide. This provision will implement that recommendation and provide more Federal employees with the incentives to choose transit options, thereby reducing their transportationrelated energy consumption and reliance on foreign oil. Finally, H.R. 6052 creates a national consumer awareness program to educate the public on the environmental, energy, and economic benefits of public transportation alternatives to the use of single occupancy vehicles.
THE SAVING ENERGY THROUGH PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ACT To ease this squeeze on public transportation, I introduced H.R. 6052, the Saving Energy through Public Transportation Act of 2008. On June 26, the House passed the bill by a vote of 322-98. The bill authorizes $1.7 billion in funding over two years for grants to transit agencies nationwide to temporarily reduce fares, expand services, or offset the increased cost of system and fleet maintenance to meet the needs of the growing number of transit commuters. It also allows transit agencies to use these new grants to offset the increased cost of fuel or to acquire clean fuel or alternative fuel vehicle-related equipment or facilities.
Today, Americans are more focused on the costs of commuting than at any time in recent history. They want choices, and Congress needs to provide them. If Americans used public transit at the same rate as Europeans – for roughly 10 percent of their daily travel needs – the United States could reduce its dependence on imported oil by more than 40 percent, nearly equal to the 550 million barrels of crude oil that we import from Saudi Arabia each year.
Grants can further be used for establishing or expanding “commuter matching services,” to provide commuters with information about alternatives to single occupancy vehicle use. H.R. 6052 increases to 100 percent the Federal share for clean fuel and alternative-fuel transit bus, ferry, or locomotive-related equipment or facilities, thereby assisting transit agencies in becoming more fuel efficient. This legislation extends the Federal transit pass benefits program to require that all Federal agencies offer transit passes to Federal employees throughout the United States. Current law limits this program to Federal Agencies in the National Capital Region
That���s the difference public transit makes. We need to help public transit agencies, and my ATU brothers and sisters, survive this squeeze of rising costs at a time of growing ridership. That’s what H.R. 6052 is all about.
Data from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority covering the first three years of the National Capital Region transit pass program show that more than 15,500 automobiles were eliminated from roads in the Washington, DC area as a result of Federal employees shifting their travel mode to public transportation use for commuting to work. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the energy savings from this mode shift included the
EDITOR’S NOTE: H.R. 6052 would allow transit systems across the U.S. to use certain federal funds for fuel costs. This could help avoid cuts in service and save jobs. Please go to our website at www.atu.org and send a message to your Senators, urging them to pass this crucial legislation. It will take you less than one minute to simply fill in your name and address.
VIOLENCE CANADIAN MEMBERS FIGHT VIOLENCE AGAINST TRANSIT WORKERS
t was about 9:10 p.m. on the evening of Wednesday, December 26, when a bottle broke through the windshield of a bus traveling along Coburg Road toward Oxford Street in Halifax, NS. The shattered glass rained down on the operator leaving her with cuts and bruises. Understandably, she was shaken by the incident. No one was charged with the crime. Three days later, a driver operating a bus at about 7:30 p.m. in the area of Kipps Lane and Baker Street in London, ON, asked a passenger to remove his wet boots from a seat on the bus. In response the rider spat in the operator’s face and smashed the windshield of the bus. His female companion kicked the driver. The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, and the couple was actually apprehended and charged with assault and drug possession. “Sadly,” responded Local President Steve Holmes, 741-London, ON, “I’m not surprised.” Violence against transit operators is a huge concern at every transit agency and company in the United States and Canada. But, it seems that a particularly virulent surge in assaults has occurred in Canada over the last three years. Commenting after the incident in Halifax, Local President Dan McDonald, 508, said, “This has been probably the most horrific year we’ve had since I started. This year has just been out of this world with violence toward operators.” “We had 14 or 15 violent incidents last year,” McDonald recently explained to In Transit. “So far this year we’ve had about one per month.” The two incidents illustrate the kinds of violence that ATU operators and their passengers are subjected to. The first involves a mindless attack on a transit vehicle in which something is usually thrown at a bus. The second will involve the operator, who can be attacked over a dispute about fares or simply assaulted for no discernable reason. Sometimes drivers can get caught in the crossfire between groups of people as in the tragic case of a Toronto operator who was blinded by a stray bullet in 2006.
SAFETY BECAME A LOCAL 113 PRIORITY THREE YEARS AGO That’s when Local President Bob Kinnear, 113-Toronto, ON, and his members began to make safety a priority at the Toronto Transit System. “We made suggestions [to the Toronto Transit Commission] which included cameras and barriers,” Kinnear relates, “and initially they were unresponsive.” Eventually, after the local made TTC realize that it was serious about safety, the agency began to place cameras on the buses which, by verbal agreement, were not directed at the driver, and will not be used for disciplinary purposes. That concern has been the primary reason many ATU locals have resisted the idea of putting cameras on buses. But, with violence increasing, ATU members are gradually warming up to cameras on transit – as long as they are not used for discipline. Local President Andre Cornellier, 279-Ottawa, ON, exemplifies this attitude. “We won’t object to new buses with cameras, but without an agreement that they will not be used for discipline we will refuse to drive them,” he asserts.
MORE FREQUENT, MORE VIOLENT, MORE UNPROVOKED In Calgary, AB, Local President Mike Mahar, 583, says that cameras were introduced two years ago after the local started experiencing “more frequent, more violent, and more unprovoked assaults on drivers. In Calgary the cameras can only be turned on by the operator or by a sudden “G-force” in the motor coach which would indicate a serious problem on board. Mahar says that while the local was unsuccessful in getting adequate language to keep the cameras from being used for disciplinary purposes, they have not had a single attempt by their employer to use the cameras for that purpose in the two years since they have been installed.
STAY PUT WHEN YOU ARE ATTACKED? One of the problems drivers encounter when they are attacked is that they are often required to stay put in their seat – no matter what. This obviously precludes effective self defense, and makes it impossible for a driver to force an assailant off the bus. “We have a right to defend ourselves,” Cornellier insists, “and it’s a constant battle with management to establish that right.”
‘PEACE OFFICERS’ Cornellier believes that transit police can be a potent force in persuading riders to pay their fare. Transit police at a non-ATU property in Vancouver, however, were accused of going too far when it was alleged that they used tasers against fare scofflaws. This may be why Litwinowich says, they want to increase the number of ATU transit police who can serve as “peace officers” on the Edmonton system.
Installing barriers between the operator and passengers is one way of preventing violence against drivers.
Transit riders in Calgary were greatly relieved to see an increased number of special transit constables who were hired earlier this year after a spate of criminal incidents there.
Local 113 members are now helping to design a barrier that will protect the operator from spitting and assaults. So far, most drivers there seem to be in favor of a complete barrier that must be in place whenever a bus is in operation.
Greater police protection is also a concern in Halifax, where MacDonald is asking for special constables who would patrol the bus system. “We’d like to have officers who could deal with crime differently than we can, and make arrests,” he says.
Not all drivers like the idea of being so separated from their passengers. Local President Stuart Litwinowich, 569-Edmonton, AB, reports that his local is asking the city to install plexiglass barriers which would give operators the option leaving a sliding door open or closed. Local President Mike Mahar, 583-Calgary, AB, and his members have concerns about the barriers they’ve investigated as well. But, they sent the designers back to the drawing boards because they felt the materials used in the prototype didn’t appear strong enough to shield an operator from attack.
FARE DISPUTES “Ninety percent of the assaults on drivers are a result of a fare dispute,” says Toronto’s Kinnear, and he has made it clear that his operators are not police officers. He does not want them to be put in the position of enforcing the law. Nevertheless, disputes occur, often brought on by Toronto’s complicated fare structure. Cornellier has a somewhat different point of view. “I’ve shut down a bus with a full load to force a passenger to pay a fare,” he says. But, the local president concedes that times have changed, and that the level of violence against drivers today is unprecedented.
MAKING THE PUNISHMENT FIT THE CRIME Those arrests might not mean much, if the punishment is light. That is why the Canadian Council is lobbying in the nation’s capital to revise federal law so that an assault on a transit worker would be a federal crime in the same way it is now in the United States. Access to information about transit assaults is vital to doing something about it. Several locals are now getting monthly reports from their managements detailing all of the incidents which have taken place on their systems. In Calgary, Mahar has used that information as the basis for discussion in a transit safety committee which has been established there. Mahar is also assembling a focus group of drivers who have been assaulted to explore the long-range impact of these incidents. Ultimately, controlling and eliminating violence against transit workers will involve a combination of all of these strategies, and a determined effort by all involved over a long period of time. For the foreseeable future, however, ATU operators in Canada will unfortunately remain on the front lines of Labor’s battle against society’s woes.
ACT NOW! Support Fuel Subsidies for U.S. Mass Transit
Protect Your Job and Strengthen Your Union - Fight Back Against High Gas Prices
he high cost of fuel has been a double-edged sword for the U.S. transit industry. While ridership has surged, transit agencies, which are running at capacity, are also being squeezed by the increased cost of diesel fuel. The ATU was successful in persuading the House of Representatives to change the law so that transit agencies can use some of the money they already get from the federal government to pay for fuel. We must act fast! The Senate will only be in session for a limited number of days between now and the end of the year. Please go to http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/gasprices/ and send a message to your Senators in support of this measure. Don’t have email? Simply write a note or a card to your Senator which includes some version of the following: “As your constituent and a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), I am writing to urge you to support passage of H.R. 6052, the “Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008.”
EXCERPTS FROM THE MEETING OF THE
General Executive Board NEW ORLEANS, LA — APRIL 29-30, 2008 FIRST SESSION The meeting convened at 8:50 a.m. on Tuesday, April 29, 2008. General Executive Board Members present were Tommy Mullins, Joseph Welch, Rodney Richmond, Donald Hansen, Robert Baker, Randy Graham, Javier Perez, Jr., Richard Murphy, Bob Hykaway, Charles Cook, William McLean, Ronald Heintzman, Janis Borchardt, Paul Bowen, Larry Hanley, Kenneth Kirk, and Gary Rauen. International President Warren George presided. Also present were International Executive Vice President Michael Siano, International Secretary-Treasurer Oscar Owens, Chief of Staff Benetta Mansfield, General Counsel Leo Wetzel, and Executive Assistant to the International President Beth Petrusic. Canadian Council Director Robin West attended as a guest. International Vice President Larry Kinnear was excused. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS International President George briefly outlined the matters which would be put before the Board for its consideration and action. He also reviewed plans for those in attendance to later in the week assist in the post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding activities being undertaken with ATU support by Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit entity dedicated to the elimination of poverty housing and homelessness. International President George further informed the General Executive Board of the current status of the U.S. Department of Labor’s on-going audit of the International Union to confirm satisfactory compliance with the financial reporting and other requirements of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, as amended. APPEAL TO THE GENERAL EXECUTIVE BOARD BERNARD WOMACK LOCAL UNION 689 (WASHINGTON, DC) There came before the General Executive Board an appeal of Bernard Womack, a member of Local 689 (Washington, DC), which contested a June 6, 2007, ruling of International President George. Brother Womack was an unsuccessful candidate for the position of Local 689 president/business agent who challenged the validity of the officer elections conducted by his local union in December of 2006. In his post-election challenge filed under Section 14.8 of the ATU Constitution and General Laws, Womack asserted that the validity of the election outcome was “questionable” for a variety of reasons, alleging that: the reporting of names was “out of order” when the results were announced; the final results did not “align” with the official ballot; the election administrator was not sufficiently involved in oversight of election reports; the election notice provided to the membership was insufficient; several voters were “turned away” and not provided challenged ballots; and there was an inappropriate mailing for retirees made by the Local 689 Retirees Association, which recommended candidates for the positions of president/business agent, financial secretary, recording secretary, first vice president, and second vice president. The Local 689 executive board, after hearing a full report and explanation from the election committee, by a near-unanimous vote
found no merit in Brother Womack’s election challenge. The membership thereafter denied the challenge by more than 87 percent of those present and voting at the union’s January 2007 monthly meeting. Subsequently, Womack submitted an appeal to International President George, seeking, in part, to raise additional allegations that members were not advised of the union hall voting location and that hand stamps utilized to signify that a member had voted were removable. Since those matters were not a basis for Brother Womack’s initial challenge as acted upon by the membership, it was determined they were not an appropriate subject of consideration on appeal. At the same time, Womack otherwise chose not to raise several of the asserted bases upon which he first contested the election outcome. Accordingly, the only issue appropriately submitted on appeal to the International President was his allegation that the mailing to pensioners by the president of the local’s retirees association was improper. Local 689 President/Business Agent Jackie L. Jeter was asked to supply a statement of the local union’s views, as well as certain additional information deemed of potential relevance. Following a preliminary review of the material provided by Sister Jeter, International Vice President Richmond was assigned to conduct an on-site investigation into the issues presented. The investigation initially confirmed that the local union’s retirees association sent a mailing to approximately 240 retiree members in advance of the Local 689 officer elections supporting the “Jeter” team of candidates for the top five elected union posts of the local union, each of whom was subsequently elected. It was also determined that the retirees’ association is an autonomous entity subject to a distinct set of bylaws and governed by its own executive board and elected president. The association has approximately 300 members, each of whom pays annual dues in the amount of $10.00 in addition to, but entirely apart from, the retirees’ dues otherwise paid to Local 689. The association’s treasury, further, is separate and distinct from that of the local union, as is its membership roster and mailing list. Relative to the contested mailing itself, the investigation revealed that the distribution was accomplished without the utilization of any Local 689 resources. No union treasury funds were spent preparing the materials and they were not reproduced using any office equipment or materials of the local union. The communication was mailed to members of the retirees association using that organization’s own membership list exclusively. International President George concluded that because no union funds or assets were used, the mailing from the Local 689 retiree group did not amount to or evidence prohibited election conduct. Finding that the challenges of Brother Womack failed to present a legitimate basis upon which to require a rerun election, International President George denied the submitted appeal and thereby effectively sustained the prior results of the Local 689 officer elections. Brother Womack appeared before the General Executive Board. With assistance from Local 689 Member Curtis Field and Brother Ronald Ivy, a pensioned member of Local 689 who served on its election committee, Womack provided an extensive review of the issues under consideration and responded to several inquiries from members of the Board. Local 689 President/Business Agent Jackie L. Jeter also appeared before
the Board, accompanied by the local union’s financial secretary/treasurer, Brother Esker Bilger, Jr., its recording secretary, Brother Anthony W. Garland, and its first vice president, Brother Roland H. Jeter. Sister Jeter discussed the conduct of the Local 689 election of officers at length. Members of the Board thereafter posed numerous questions, each of which Sister Jeter responded to in full. Following a thorough study of the facts in this case, the General Executive Board voted to deny the appeal before it and to affirm the decision of the International President. AUDIT COMMITTEE APPOINTED Appointed to the Audit Committee were International Vice Presidents Richard Murphy, Bob Hykaway, and Charles Cook. International Vice President Murphy, further, was appointed as Chair of the panel. STRIKE SANCTION APPROVED Upon the request of International Vice President Kirk, the Board granted strike sanction to the members of Local 1338 (Dallas, TX) employed by Veolia Transportation, Inc. SECTION 22.2 CHARGES CONSIDERED Several matters came before the General Executive Board implicating the “dual unionsim” prohibition set forth in Section 22.2 of the ATU Constitution and General Laws, which provides for Board consideration of any charges against a member alleging that he or she has affirmatively promoted another union for the purpose of supplanting the ATU as a recognized collective bargaining agent. GENERAL DISCUSSION International President George summarized the current status of the International Union’s financial holdings and advised the General Executive Board that following consultation with professional advisors, efforts had been initiated to diversify the investments of the Union in a prompt but prudent and orderly fashion. 2013 CONVENTION SITE APPROVED At the request of International President George, the General Executive Board voted to authorize the executive officers to undertake the negotiation and entering into of such contractual arrangements as necessary for the scheduling of the Fifty-Seventh Convention from September 9 through September 14, 2013, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, a hotel facility currently under construction in San Diego, CA. GENERAL DISCUSSIONS A discussion ensued regarding the rising costs of air travel and their impact upon the expenses of conducting educational seminars for ATU officers and members. The current status of the U.S. presidential race was also the subject of exchange between the members of the Board and the executive officers. REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY-TREASURER ON MS RESEARCH FUNDS, ATU-COPE, AND ATU SCHOLARSHIP ATU MS RESEARCH FUNDS It was reported that the twenty-second annual golf tournament, jointly sponsored by the ATU MS Research funds of the United States and Canada, was held on Monday, October 22, 2007, at the Norbeck Country Club in Rockville, MD. The results of this period’s efforts were further summarized as follows: The U.S. fund had as of July 1, 2007, available cash of $7,189.70. The collections during the six-month period ended December 31,
2007, amounted to $109,342.60. These receipts were accounted for as follows: General Contributions of $6,678.74; Local Union Contributions of $19,205.00; Golf Tournament Receipts of $73,868.86; Booster Contributions of $4,350.00; and Other Receipts of $5,240.00. During the same six-month period, the fund paid golf tournament expenses of $22,215.19. These transactions created an available cash balance for charitable purposes and for future operations of $94,317.11. Of this amount, $90,000.00 was pledged to be contributed to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Canadian fund had available cash as of July 1, 2007, of $7,991.95. The collections for the six-month period ended December 31, 2007, totaled $34,518.54. These receipts were accounted for as follows: General Contributions of $1,170.10; Local Union Contributions of $25,550.00; Interest Income of $8.44; Golf Tournament Receipts of $5,635.00; and Booster Contributions of $2,155.00. Du r i n g t h e p e r i o d , t h e f u n d i n c u r re d m i s c e l l a n e o u s administrative expenses of $565.36 and golf tournament expenses of $250.00. As a result, the fund had available for contribution and future operations $41,695.13. Of this amount, $35,000.00 was forwarded to Local Union 113 for presentation to Dr. John Roder of Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON, to further assist his ongoing MS research efforts. Members of the General Executive Board were informed that special recognition must again go to the officers and members of Local Union 113 (Toronto, ON); their generous donation of $20,000.00 will go a long way in the fight against MS. Special mention was also said to be due to the officers and members of Local Union 1572 (Mississauga, ON); Local Union 1181 (New York, NY); and Local Union 589 (Boston, MA) for the sizeable contributions of each. Financial statements for the United States and Canada for the six months ended December 31, 2007, were provided to the General Executive Board. ATU-COPE The Amalgamated Transit Union Committee on Political Education (ATU-COPE) program collects voluntary contributions from ATU members for the purposes of making contributions to and expenditures for candidates for federal, state and local offices and addressing federal, state and local political issues. ATU-COPE consists primarily of the Voluntary Account, which is used to make contributions to candidates for federal elections (i.e., U.S. Senate, U.S. House and U.S. President), and to state and local candidates in jurisdictions which strictly regulate political contributions. In addition to the Voluntary Account, ATU-COPE maintains the Special Holdings Account for contributions to state and local candidates and also maintains separate accounts in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Virginia and Wisconsin, as required by those states’ laws. The highlights of the contributions paid from the various funds (combined) for the six-month period ending December 31, 2007, were reported as follows: Federal Senatorial Campaigns Congressional Campaigns Other
$22,000.00 $93,000.00 $52,000.00
State Senatorial Campaigns Representative Campaigns Other
$ 7,750.00 $24,625.00 $14,950.00
Local Mayoral Campaigns Councilperson Campaigns Other
$ 3,050.00 $23,500.00 $27,978.97
Between July 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, ATU-COPE took in contributions totaling $464,049.29. As of December 31, 2007, the funds had a combined available balance of $430,650.85. ATU SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM The General Executive Board was advised that the 2007 Scholarship Program named in memory of Melvin Schoppert, former International Vice President, was concluded with the issuance of checks in the amount of $5,000.00 to the following: Georgetown University for the scholarship of Tuan Trinh; Santa Clara University for the scholarship of Yasmin S. Aranda; University of Calgary for the scholarship of Sukhman Sandhu; University of California, Berkeley, for the scholarship of Daniel Duckworth; and the University of Chicago for the scholarship of Kevin Rabichow. No vocational scholarship application was received and accordingly no award was issued. The 2008 Scholarship Program named in memory of former International Vice President Jackie B. Breckenridge, who passed away in 2003, commenced with the publication of the official application and guidelines in the 2007 September/October issue of the In Transit. A subsequent mailing of a supply of applications, accompanied by the official guidelines, was made to each local union. As of December 31, 2007, some 77 applications had been received from U.S. residents and 15 applications had been received from Canadian applicants. The applicants were forwarded a listing of the rules and required procedures to complete the application process. They also received a secondary school report form, a biographical questionnaire, and a bibliography of suggested references for the required essay. The required essay must be no less than 500 words and no more than 750 words in English, French or Spanish on the subject of “Organized Labor’s Contribution to the Welfare of the People of the United States” (for residents of the United States) or “Organized Labour’s Contribution to the Welfare of the People of Canada” (for residents of Canada). Prospective applicants were afforded until January 31, 2008, to file their application for this year’s scholarship. All subsequent materials were required to be postmarked by March 15, 2008. REQUESTS FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE LOCAL 1579 (GAINESVILLE, FL) Elmore R. Reynolds, president/business agent of Local 1579, requested a forbearance in the payment of per capita tax to the International due to financial difficulties faced by the local union due in part to a decline in its active membership. The financial statement of Local 1579 for the period ended June 30, 2007, listed a beginning balance of $3,442.07. Receipts for the period amounted to $11,424.00 and disbursements were $13,700.38, leaving a balance at the end of the period of $1,011.86. International SecretaryTreasurer Owens further advised that the local union is currently in arrears in the payment of the per capita tax obligations of its 79 active members and no pensioners, and that International Vice President Gary Rauen has been assigned to investigate the circumstances surrounding that delinquency. The General Executive Board, after careful review and consideration of the facts, voted to deny Local 1579’s request. LOCAL 1587 (TORONTO, ON) Ron Atkinson, former financial secretary of Local 1587, requested financial assistance in the amount of $51,255.25 for legal expenses
incurred as a result of a duty of fair representation case and a challenge to the local union’s collective bargaining agreement with Miller Transit. The financial statement of Local 1587 for the period ended June 30, 2007, listed a beginning combined funds balance of $253,542.00. Revenue for the period amounted to $629,360.00 and expenses were $570,280.00, leaving a balance at the end of the period of $310,674.00. International Secretary-Treasurer Owens further advised that the local union currently has 1,934 active members and 6 pensioned members. Following careful review and consideration of the facts, the General Executive Board voted to grant Local 1587 a waiver of its per capita tax obligations for two (2) months. LOCAL 1704 (SAN BERNARDINO, CA) Dale E. Moore, president/business agent of Local 1704, requested financial assistance in the form of a waiver of per capita tax due to legal fees currently owed and previously paid in pursuing numerous unfair labor practice charges against the public transit authority with which it bargains. The financial statement of Local 1704 for the period ended December 31, 2007, listed a beginning balance of $4,711.00. Receipts for the period amounted to $152,629.00 and disbursements were $144,550.00, leaving a balance at the end of the period of $12,790.00. International Secretary-Treasurer Owens further advised that the local union currently has 495 active members and 2 pensioned members. Following careful review and consideration of the facts, the General Executive Board voted to grant Local 1704 a waiver of its per capita tax obligations for six (6) months, including its current three (3) months arrearage. LOCAL 1592 (BINGHAMTON, NY) Fredrick E. Smith, president/business agent of Local 1592, requested financial assistance due to legal expenses incurred during a recent arbitration case totaling $11,023.14. The financial statement of Local 1592 for the period ended December 31, 2007, listed a beginning balance of $3,139.34. Receipts for the period amounted to $7,414.21 and disbursements were $8,492.06, leaving a balance at the end of the period of $2,061.49. International SecretaryTreasurer Owens further advised that the local union currently has 28 active members and no pensioned members. Following careful review and consideration, the General Executive Board voted to authorize the executive officers to further investigate the circumstances presented and to afford to Local 1592 such financial assistance as they might determine, in the exercise of their discretion and judgement, to be appropriate. LOCAL 1700 (CHICAGO, IL) Bruce Hamilton, president/business agent of Local 1700, requested financial assistance due to expenses incurred during contract negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with Greyhound Lines, Inc. The financial statement of Local 1700 for the period ended December 31, 2007, listed beginning net assets of $93,354.00. Revenues for the calendar year were $1,626,508.00 and expenses were $1,951,106.00, with the result that net assets at the end of the period were reported in the negative as ($231,244.00). International Secretary-Treasurer Owens further advised that the local union currently has 2,340 active members and 495 pensioned members. Following careful review and extensive discussion, the General Executive Board voted to authorize the executive officers to afford to Local 1700 such financial assistance as they might determine to be appropriate, upon further investigation and in the exercise of their discretion and judgement, and to otherwise explore potential restructuring
options responsive to the foundation issues which appear to underlie the circumstances presented by the local union’s request for assistance. LOCAL 836 (GRAND RAPIDS, MI) Juanita Merritt, former president/business agent of Local 836, requested financial assistance due to extensive litigation over the last six years with the Interurban Transit Partnership. Members of the General Executive Board were informed that the most recent audit report submitted to the International Union by Local 836 was for the period ended June 30, 2006, which listed a closing balance of $31,898.64. International Secretary-Treasurer Owens further advised that numerous attempts had been made, without success, to obtain from the local union, which currently has 599 active members and 64 pensioned members, additional information about the facts presented. Following careful review and consideration, the General Executive Board voted to deny Local 836’s request. LOCAL 382 (SALT LAKE CITY, UT) Jim Allgier, financial secretary of Local 382, requested financial assistance in the amount of $14,800 for expenses incurred over the past six and one-half years in responding to litigation involving the TRAX light rail operations. The financial statement of Local 382 for the period ended June 30, 2007, listed a beginning balance of $11,694.00. Receipts for the period amounted to $166,142.96 and disbursements were $169,604.17, leaving a balance at the end of the period of $8,232.79. International SecretaryTreasurer Owens further advised that the local union currently has 599 active members and 64 pensioned members. Following careful review and consideration of the facts, the General Executive Board voted to grant Local 382 a waiver of its per capita tax obligations for two (2) months. REPORT ON LOCAL 1181 TRUSTEESHIP International Vice President Mullins provided a comprehensive report on the status of the Local 1181 (New York, NY) stewardship as of April 25, 2008. He initially advised members of the Board that on the basis of information received from the criminal attorney he retained to assist him in his role as trustee, three additional individuals who had formerly served on the local’s executive board had been removed from their union positions. In more positive developments, it was reported that five collective bargaining agreements had been settled by the trusteed local since the last meeting of the General Executive Board, including the labor contract covering some 1,500 paratransit workers which was concluded following a 10-day strike action. Grievances continue to be addressed and processed on a prompt basis, with a noteworthy rate of success in arbitrations, albeit with associated legal expenses averaging $100,000 per month. Still, it was also reported that the local union remains on solid financial foundations, with just over $4 million in its general fund and some $12.1 million in its defense fund. The Board was informed that Local 1181 recently intervened in litigation brought by certain pre-kindergarten service contractors against the New York City Department of Education which challenges the propriety of employee protective provisions included in currently outstanding bid specifications. International Vice President Mullins explained that the provisions at issue are a backbone of the current regular school bus contracts with the Education Department that protect employees by allowing them to follow their work from contractor to contractor without any loss of wages or benefits. The Board was also briefed on the status of the local union’s welfare and pension funds. More specifically, it was reported that the fund trustees had recently decided to replace the third-party administrator effective
April 1, 2008, and instead utilize the services of Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield based upon indicated savings of approximately $6 million annually. International Vice President Mullins further informed that the pension fund is in very good condition actuarially, with a current funding ratio of 95% and projected funding of 100% in approximately four years should all stated assumptions be met. International Vice President Mullins concluded his report by noting that the process of approving proposed bylaw amendments is currently underway and expected to be complete by early 2009, although no anticipated date for the termination of the Local 1181 trusteeship has yet been determined. GENERAL DISCUSSION The remainder of the day was devoted to general discussion regarding several matters of interest to members of the General Executive Board, including growing concerns about financial improprieties witnessed at the local union level and the reporting requirements of the LaborManagement Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 imposed upon chartered local unions and intermediate bodies of the ATU which are covered by that U.S. statute. The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m. to reconvene at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 30, 2008.
SECOND SESSION The meeting convened at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 30, 2008. General Executive Board Members present were Tommy Mullins, Joseph Welch, Rodney Richmond, Donald Hansen, Robert Baker, Randy Graham, Javier Perez, Jr., Richard Murphy, Bob Hykaway, Charles Cook, William McLean, Ronald Heintzman, Janis Borchardt, Paul Bowen, Larry Hanley, Kenneth Kirk, and Gary Rauen. International President Warren George presided. Also present were International Executive Vice President Michael Siano, International Secretary-Treasurer Oscar Owens, Chief of Staff Benetta Mansfield, General Counsel Leo Wetzel, and Executive Assistant to the International President Beth Petrusic. International Representatives Ray Rivera, Marcellus Barnes, and Yvette Salazar were also in attendance, as was Canadian Council Director Robin West. Former International Vice President Bruce Foster and Former International Representative Gary Maurer attended as guests. International Vice President Larry Kinnear was excused. SPECIAL GUESTS WELCOMED International President George individually welcomed the invited guests in attendance: Bruce P. Foster, who was first elected as an International Vice President at the 1971 Convention in Las Vegas and served with distinction through his retirement in 1986; and Gary Maurer, who served the International Union for more than two decades until his retirement as an International Representative effective April 1, 2008. Brothers Foster and Maurer each briefly addressed the members of the General Executive Board. REPORT OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL Several legal developments in the six-month period which ended December 31, 2007, were highlighted for the benefit of the General Executive Board and discussed at some length. The Board was informed that the lawsuit challenging the right of Local 1356 (Sioux Falls, SD) to invoke interest arbitration under its Section 13(c) Agreement with the City of Sioux Falls was resolved in our favor. The judge in this case first confirmed that the language traditionally utilized in our Section 13(c) interest arbitration clauses obligates the
third-party determinations of new labor contract terms. Of even greater significance, he ruled that interest arbitration with the private management company would not represent an unconstitutional delegation to the arbitrator of the City’s constitutional authority to legislate matters of public interest. That supposed state constitutional issue is also raised in pending litigation brought against Local 1164 (Knoxville, TN) by the City of Knoxville and its management contractor. This case was first initiated some time ago and currently is being pressed in anticipation of future negotiations. Unfortunately, our motion to dismiss the suit outright was unsuccessful. The judge, then, recently rejected our suggestion that the management claims implicate federal law and should not even be heard in state court. We are now moving into the pre-trial discovery stages of this mater and envision that the facts and issues will be briefed by the parties by the end of 2008. It was further reported that we continue to pursue an appeal from the ruling which dismissed our lawsuit against the City of Colorado Springs based on its failure to bind its prior service contractor to the Section 13(c) Agreement with Local 19 (Colorado Springs, CO). We have argued that the lower court improperly denied us the opportunity to demonstrate that the City was effectively bound by the earlier judgment of another court which ruled that we could not enforce interest arbitration against the City’s management contractor because Colorado Springs had failed to require that company accept the Section 13(c) Agreement applied to its federal funding. This matter is now fully briefed and we are waiting for the appellate court to issue its opinion. Meanwhile, the City of Colorado Springs has sued the U.S. Secretary of Labor because she declined to order a re-negotiation of the parties’ Section 13(c) Agreement based upon more than a dozen objections that the public body offered to those protective arrangements, including a claim that interest arbitration by the company with which the City contracts for the provision of service would violate limitations placed on the City by the Colorado state constitution. We have successfully intervened in this litigation and have filed a brief countering the legal arguments put forth by the City. In essence, this case challenges the Labor Department’s failure to sufficiently explain its Section 13(c) rulings as required by principles of administrative law. We are therefore in the somewhat uncomfortable position of effectively defending the actions of the Department of Labor notwithstanding our own frequent concerns about its decisions. Members of the General Executive Board were advised that the International Union has been named as the principal defendant in a lawsuit brought by scores of individuals who were employed by First Transit and represented by the since-disbanded Local 1635 (Dallas, TX) when the Dallas transit authority (DART) terminated a service contract it had with that company and bought the work in-house to Local 1338 (Dallas, TX) in 2003. At that time, we advised the Local 1635 officers that because the specific work at issue had been contracted out through competitive bidding from its inception, the employees had no Section 13(c) job carryover rights and, further, that it was highly unlikely an arbitrator would ever otherwise award monetary allowances based on a conclusion that the move from First Transit was a result of federal funding. The employees nevertheless filed a claim with DART and then the Labor Department, without the International Union’s authorization or support. The General Executive Board was informed, however, that after pursuing that claim for several years, the workers have now sued the ATU, essentially claiming that the union failed to properly represent them. We have moved this case to the federal courts. The Board was informed that in a more recent development which is sure to aid in our defense against this suit, the U.S. Department of Labor finally issued an opinion denying the Section 13(c) claim filed with it, thus essentially vindicating our original assessment of the circumstances presented. It was also reported that our ongoing effort to enable transit worker participation in the pension fund of the City of St. John, NB, suffered a minor setback when we finally compelled the Superintendent of Pensions
to issue a ruling on the question, but he ruled against us and the positions we advocated on behalf of Local 1182 (St. John, NB). Given the political considerations involved here, we were not terribly surprised by that judgment and have appealed it to the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board, which we sense is much more likely to be receptive to our view that the St. John Transit Commission workers are de facto City employees. A final matter brought to the specific attention of the members of the Board was another piece of Canadian litigation. It was reported that George Crocker, the former president of Local 1462 (St. John’s, NL), has filed an unfair labour practice complaint with the Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Relations Board claiming that the International Union and Local 1462 breached the duty of fair representation. At the heart of this case is the local union’s decision not to seek judicial review of a lengthy arbitration opinion which sustained Crocker’s discharge for certain media comments he made that were found to be false, malicious, and detrimental to the interests of his employer. In reply to the agency proceedings initiated by Crocker, we have denied that there is any indication of arbitrary, discriminatory, or bad faith conduct by any of the union parties. We additionally have noted that while the applicant claimed the decision not to seek a judicial review was at odds with available legal advice, the opinions of counsel obtained by the local union in fact fully supported the judgment reached by its executive board. INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT’S REPORT ADOPTED The report of the International President for the six-month period ending December 31, 2007, was approved with a correction to properly reflect that the authorization granted to Local 1336 (Bridgeport, CT) by the General Executive Board in its fifth interim action implicated a four-year collective bargaining agreement with Veolia Transportation, Inc. MINUTES APPROVED The minutes of the previous General Executive Board meeting were approved with revisions to reflect that the Audit Committee, as part of its report, had presented a series of inquiries to which the executive officers responded following adjournment of the fall 2007 session of the Board and that the discussion of local union expense payment policies which transpired at that meeting was initiated by reference to certain practices that had bee uncovered at Local 1462 (St. John’s, NL) and Local 1182 (St. John, NB). REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT ORGANIZING CAMPAIGNS It was reported that over the course of the six months ending on December 31, 2007, we were involved in 39 campaigns and out of those we won 15 (accounting for approximately 1,120 new members) and lost four. Seven were withdrawn for various reasons and 13 were pending at the close of the reporting period. Won First Group, Inc. (Bozeman, MT) First Student, Inc. (Wall, PA) First Transit, Inc. (Glenview, IL) First Transit, Inc. (Springdale, PA) Greyhound Lines, Inc./Aramark (New York City, NY) Laidlaw Transit, Inc. (Denver, CO) MV Transportation, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH) MV Transportation, Inc. (University of Kansas) Operation Lift (Brantford, ON) Rochester City Lines (Rochester, MN)
Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority Veolia Transportation, Inc. (Denver, CO) Veolia Transportation, Inc. (Charleston, SC) Veolia Transportation, Inc. (Union County, NJ) Palm Beach Metro Transportation (West Palm Beach, FL)
RAIDS Local 1179 (New York, NY) As was reported in the immediately prior period, on behalf of the 51 supervisory employees at MTA Bus represented by Local 1179, the ATU filed an Article XX complaint with the AFL-CIO against the Transport Workers Union after learning that TWU Local 106 had filed a petition with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board seeking the right to represent all the public body’s supervisory employees. On November 28, 2007, the TWU local amended its petition to effectively disclaim any interest in representing those in the Local 1179 bargaining unit. The ATU in turn requested withdrawal of the Article XX charges against the TWU and a satisfactory resolution was thus reached in this matter. STRIKES Local 1181 (New York, NY) On December 10, 2007, at 12:01 a.m., the 1,500 members of Local 1181 employed by various paratransit companies (MV Transportation, Inc., TFM, Atlantic and Maggies) initiated a work stoppage after twice rejecting final offers from the companies. The first vote rejected a five-year offer by a count of 225 to 169; the second membership action declined a four-year contract proposal by a vote of 555 to 350 with an authorization to strike. The companies presented a strike settlement offer, and on December 19, 2007, the membership ratified a four-year agreement by a vote of 384 to 345, therefore ending the ten-day strike. EXPENSES Approximately $197,627.93 was spent during this report period on organizing, as well as other costs such as materials, mailing lists, and expenses for those who assisted in these efforts. Local union officers and members assigned to assist with these drives were reimbursed by the International for their wages and expenses incurred. REPORT ON LOCAL 639 TRUSTEESHIP International Representative Barnes reported on the status of the trusteeship of Local 639 (Lexington, KY) first instituted in July of 2007. He advised members of the Board that under his administration the stewardship has realized significant improvements in the working labor-management relationship, with only one grievance filed since imposition of the trusteeship currently being slated for resolution through arbitration. All outstanding legal fees, in a total amount of approximately $43,000, have been paid with available funds now exceeding $24,000. Having rented an office appropriate for the conduct of union business, International Representative Barnes advised of issues remaining to be resolved before the local union’s autonomy can be restored, including the satisfaction of outstanding tax liabilities and the need to adequately safeguard the depositing of dues monies collected through payroll deductions. He further relayed that the former president and former financial secretary, neither of whom are currently employed in the represented collective bargaining unit, are each awaiting sentencing following their guilty pleas on criminal charges arising from their financial improprieties.
An extended dialogue thereafter transpired between and among the Board members and the executive officers regarding the bonding of local union officers and the utility of encouraging local unions to carry bonds in amounts exceeding the minimums required under the ATU Constitution and General Laws. AUDIT COMMITTEE REPORT ADOPTED The previously appointed Chair of the Audit Committee, International Vice President Murphy, reviewed at some length the activities of the panel in its study of the financial records made available to it, indicating in part that the committee members recommended the actuarial assumptions applied to the pension fund be modified to omit any expectation of cost-of-living wage increases in the immediate future and are concerned that funds of the International Union are maintained in accounts whose totals exceed the limits of governmental deposit insurance coverages. The formal report of the Audit Committee for the six-month period ended December 31, 2007, was approved as written. INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY-TREASURER’S REPORT ADOPTED Upon a motion duly made and seconded, the report of the International Secretary-Treasurer for the six-month period ending December 31, 2007, was approved as printed. REMARKS OF CANADIAN DIRECTOR Canadian Director West addressed the General Executive Board and advised as to the status of a number of matters being dealt with by the Canadian Council, including appropriate responses to an order of the Ontario Human Rights Commission directing that operators must announce each transit stop, pending federal legislation to impose criminal penalties for any assault on a transit operator, and proposals to establish a regional transit structure in the greater Toronto area. MOTION RELATIVE TO ATU POLICY ON CHARTER SERVICE REGULATIONS ADOPTED Upon a motion offered and duly seconded, the General Executive Board enacted that within ninety (90) days the Legislative Department of the International Union prepare an evaluation of the current impact and implications of the U.S. Federal Transit Administration’s regulations which, with only certain limited and narrowly drawn exceptions, prohibit transit agencies from providing charter services in competition with private bus operators, and that the resulting analysis be forwarded to members of the Board together with a draft resolution, suitable for potential interim action, setting forth an appropriate and equitable policy position on the part of the ATU relative to the charter service restrictions as recently revised effective April 30, 2008. MOTION CALLING FOR ADVOCACY OF GOVERNMENT FUEL SUBSIDY PROGRAMS ADOPTED Upon a motion offered and duly seconded, the General Executive Board unanimously resolved that the ATU should undertake a coordinated political campaign advocating that the candidates for U.S. President support, and that the U.S. Congress, the Canadian Parliament, and the state and provincial legislatures enact, emergency legislation to fund direct fuel subsidy programs for the benefit of mass transit and over-the-road bus operators as a matter of economic stimulus, national security and sound environmental policy. The meeting adjourned sine die at 6:25 p.m.
INTERIM ACTIONS AND RULINGS BY THE GENERAL EXECUTIVE BOARD FOR THE PERIOD JULY 1, 2007, THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2007 1. AUTHORIZATION FOR INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT TO PLACE LOCAL 639 (LEXINGTON, KY) IN TEMPORARY TRUSTEESHIP On July 9, 2007, the General Executive Board authorized International President George to immediately place Local 639 in temporary trusteeship.
12. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 1564 (DETROIT, MI) TO ENTER FOUR-YEAR AGREEMENT On October 25, 2007, Local 1564 was authorized, upon the request of International Vice President Perez, to enter a four-year agreement with the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transit.
2. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 788 (ST. LOUIS, MO) TO RETAIN A LOWER DUES STRUCTURE On July 10, 2007, Local 788 was granted permission to retain a lower dues structure.
13. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 1015 (SPOKANE, WA) TO ENTER THREE AND ONE-HALF YEAR AGREEMENT On October 25, 2007, Local 1015 was authorized, upon the request of International Vice President Hansen, to enter a three and one-half year agreement with the Spokane Transit Authority.
3. TERMINATION OF PREVIOUSLY IMPOSED TRUSTEESHIP OF LOCAL 1462 (ST. JOHNâ€™S, NL) On July 16, 2007, the General Executive Board voted to terminate the trusteeship of Local 1462 effective August 1, 2007. 4. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 19 (COLORADO SPRINGS, CO) TO ENTER INTEREST ARBITRATION On July 25, 2007, Local 19 was authorized to enter interest arbitration with Laidlaw Transit. 5. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 1336 (BRIDGEPORT, CT) TO ENTER FOUR-YEAR AGREEMENT On August 3, 2007, Local 1336 was authorized, upon the request of International Vice President Murphy, to enter a four-year agreement with the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority. 6. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 1605 (CONCORD, CA) TO ENTER FOUR-YEAR AGREEMENT On August 15, 2007, Local 1605 was authorized, upon the request of International Vice President McLean, to enter a four-year agreement with the Contra Costa County Transit Authority. 7. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 1625 (BUFFALO, NY) TO ENTER FOUR-YEAR AGREEMENT On August 21, 2007, Local 1625 was authorized, upon the request of Local 1625 Financial Secretary Susan Malkin, to enter a four-year agreement with Laidlaw Transit, Inc. 8. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 589 (BOSTON, MA) TO ENTER FOUR-YEAR AGREEMENT On August 21, 2007, Local 589 was authorized, upon the request of Local 589 President/Business Agent Stephan G. MacDougall, to enter a four-year agreement with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 9. STRIKE SANCTION GRANTED TO MEMBERS OF LOCAL 732 (ATLANTA, GA) EMPLOYED BY VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION (COBB COMMUNITY TRANSIT) On August 23, 2007, strike sanction was granted at the request of International Vice President Kirk to the members of Local 732 employed by Veolia Transportation (Cobb Community Transit). 10. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 1499 (MUNCIE, IN) TO ENTER INTEREST ARBITRATION On September 6, 2007, Local 1499 was authorized to enter interest arbitration with the Muncie Indiana Transit System.
14. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 1028 (DES PLAINES, IL) TO ENTER FIVE-YEAR AGREEMENT On October 26, 2007, Local 1028 was authorized, upon the request of International Representative Barnes, to enter a five-year agreement with MV Transportation, Inc. 15. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 627 (CINCINNATI, OH) TO ENTER FIVE-YEAR AGREEMENT On October 31, 2007, Local 627 was authorized, upon the request of International Vice President Baker, to enter a five-year agreement with MV Transportation, Inc. 16. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 788 (ST. LOUIS, MO) TO ENTER FOUR-YEAR AGREEMENT On November 7, 2007, Local 788 was authorized, upon the request of Local 788 President/Business Agent Herbert S. Dill, to enter a four-year agreement with the Bi-State Development Agency covering the Metro paratransit bargaining unit represented by the local union. 17. ENDORSEMENT OF HILLARY CLINTON IN 2008 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION Based upon results of sample surveys of ATU members, on November 15, 2007, the General Executive Board enacted that the International Union formally endorse U.S. Senator Hilliary Clinton (D-NY) in her campaign for the U.S. presidency. 18. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 1577 (WEST PALM BEACH, FL) TO ENTER FIVE-YEAR AGREEMENT On November 28, 2007, Local 1577 was authorized, upon the request of International Vice President Rauen, to enter a five-year agreement with MV Transportation, Inc. 19. AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL 1564 (DETROIT, MI) TO ENTER FOUR-YEAR AGREEMENT On December 31, 2007, Local 1564 was authorized, upon the request of International Vice President Perez, to enter a four-year agreement with the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transit (office clerical workers). 20. STRIKE SANCTION GRANTED TO MEMBERS OF LOCAL 1587 (TORONTO, ON) EMPLOYED BY GO TRANSIT On December 31, 2007, strike sanction was granted at the request of International Vice President Graham to the members of Local 1587 employed by GO Transit.
11. STRIKE SANCTION GRANTED TO MEMBERS OF LOCAL 508 (HALIFAX, NS) EMPLOYED BY THE HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY (METRO TRANSIT) On September 25, 2007, strike sanction was granted at the request of International Vice President Kinnear to the members of Local 508 employed by the Halifax Regional Municipality (Metro Transit).
LABOR LINGO: D TO G An essential element of knowing your rights as an ATU member is understanding the terminology of labor-management relations. With that in mind, this is the second in a series of columns providing a glossary of common labor terminology. Discovery: A process invoked before a court trial to explore the facts in a dispute and facilitate preparation of the case by each party’s representative. The three procedures used include a request for admissions of fact by the other side, the surrendering of potentially relevant documentation as requested, and the taking of depositions, which essentially involve pre-trial witness testimony under oath but without the presence of the judge or jury. Discovery is seldom used in labor arbitration, where both parties have participated in the earlier grievance procedure. Discovery can be encouraged by an arbitrator where deemed necessary, however. Discriminatory Discharge: The permanent separation of an employee from the payroll of the employer due to union activity, or because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or any other basis prohibited under applicable law. Dues Checkoff: An arrangement whereby union dues, assessments and other fees are automatically deducted from employee paychecks and forwarded to the union by the employer. Duty of Fair Representation: The responsibility of the union in its role as the exclusive bargaining agent to fairly represent all members of the bargaining unit, including those who may not be members of the union where membership is not required as a condition of continued employment under the labor contract. Union officials and lawyers will sometimes refer to an allegation that the duty has not been properly honored as a “DFR” case. Employee Assistance Plan (EAP): An employee benefit providing counseling and assistance on a wide range of work-related and personal concerns. EAP’s are generally administered by outside consultants that are independent of the employer and are operated on a confidential basis. Employment at Will: A legal doctrine (that does not even exist in Canadian law) under which employees may be summarily terminated without any notice or cause whatsoever absent some contractual or statutory limitation. One of the most fundamental benefits of ATU membership, of course, is the foundation of any labor contract that employees will only be terminated for adequate “cause” which can be tested through a grievance potentially subject to arbitration. Exclusionary Clause: A provision in the labor contract stating that specific subjects are excluded from the arbitration process established in the agreement.
Fact-Finding: A procedure for addressing impasses between the employer and the union in negotiation of a new labor contract which as a practical matter is very much like interest arbitration with the one very significant, and even overriding, exception that the ultimate outcome is a set of recommendations which are not binding unless accepted by both parties. FMCSA: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation responsible for U.S. regulations that establish safe operation requirements for commercial motor vehicles and operators. FMLA: The U.S. Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 is a federal law that provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for employees who have serious health problems or who need to care for a child or other family member. Free Riders: A term sometimes applied to those workers who fail to join the union even though they are within a union-represented bargaining unit and are therefore covered by, and obtain all the benefits, of a labor contract because of the efforts and strength of the duespaying members. Fringe Benefits: Vacations, holidays, medical insurance, retirement provisions and other similar benefits that are provided to an employee under a labor contract in addition to direct wages. FTA: An agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Transit Administration is responsible for public transit issues, including administration of the federal government’s program awarding grants of financial assistance to benefit public transit systems. Grievance: A complaint against an employer alleging its failure to comply with the obligations of the collective bargaining agreement with the union. Most grievances challenge some form of disciplinary action taken against an employee. Grievance Procedure: The means established in a collective bargaining agreement for the handling of complaints made by or on behalf of employees. The exact process varies from contract to contract, but typically involves several “steps” at which progressively higher levels of management are asked to resolve the dispute. If a grievance is not settled by the final step, the employer or the union typically have the right to demand that the matter be resolved through arbitration.
Arbitration Decisions Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation and ATU Local 1070 ISSUE: Was the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (“IndyGo”) justified in terminating the employment of Grievant for alleged violation of IndyGo Code of Conduct Rule 63, prohibiting the carrying or display of a weapon while on Corporation property; and if not, what should the remedy be? SUMMARY: On the Saturday before Memorial Day 2007, Grievant approached the downtown area of Indianapolis approximately eight minutes ahead of schedule; “running hot” as it is known is prohibited by IndyGo policy, and accordingly, Grievant pulled his bus to the side of the road in an effort to return to proper schedule. After pulling the bus over, Grievant exited the bus, and an altercation with an unhappy passenger ensued. The specifics of what transpired were not aided by the small and grainy photographs provided by the cameras onboard the bus; according to Grievant, the unruly passenger reached for Grievant’s identification badge, and Grievant responded by knocking away the passengers hand. According to Grievant, after the initial contact another passenger exited the bus and began to make a move toward Grievant. At this point, Grievant testified that he placed his hand in his pocket, where he kept a small pocket knife. According to Grievant, he never removed the pocketknife from his pocket. Another passenger from the bus intervened in the altercation, at which point Grievant returned to the bus multiple times to call for assistance and report the incident. Grievant was eventually terminated from employment by IndyGo, which after a lengthy review process determined that Grievant had in fact brandished a knife at the disgruntled passengers. The Union asserted that there was no clear visual evidence of Grievant brandishing the knife, and that furthermore the passenger who eventually telephoned in a report against Grievant was unreliable, as he had an outstanding warrant and that frivolous complaints are lodged against operators on a regular basis. Additionally, the Union argued that IndyGo had not clearly stated to employees what constituted a weapon as mentioned in Rule 63. HOLDING: Grievant was ordered reinstated without back pay. Arbitrator Terry A. Bethel held that the visual evidence provided by IndyGo from the bus cameras provided no clear proof that Grievant brandished the pocketknife, and that any such evidence supporting IndyGo’s position was purely circumstantial. Moreover, Bethel noted that it is common for men to carry pocketknives, and if IndyGo intended for a pocketknife to be considered a weapon under Rule 63, it needs to state so explicitly.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit and ATU Local 1338 ISSUE: Did Dallas Area Rapid Transit (“DART”) have just cause in terminating Grievant for a physical altercation that took place within the garage; and if not, what should be the remedy? SUMMARY: Grievant, a five year employee of DART, was discharged in October 2007, for an incident that occurred in September 2007. According to Grievant, he was servicing a van on a lift near a coworker. Grievant lowered the lift to retrieve some parts from another location within the garage, only to return and find that the van was no longer present at the lift. Grievant asked another coworker if he had seen who moved the van, and the coworker replied that he had seen who moved the van, and named another coworker (“SF”). Grievant went to his supervisor to ask if she had asked SF to move the van, and the supervisor said that she had not. Grievant returned to work on another vehicle. A short time later during lunch, Grievant encountered SF and asked why he had taken the van, as Grievant was not done with it and it was not SF’s van to be working on. According to Grievant, SF then became verbally hostile, shouting obscenities at Grievant and the coworker that had initially indentified SF as the employee who moved the van. After subsequently returning to work, Grievant alleged that SF walked unnecessarily close while going to his tool box, and intentionally bumped Grievant while passing. At that point, Grievant alleged that SF shouted “What are you gonna do?”, and placed his hands over his head in a threatening manner. Grievant acknowledged that at this point he struck SF at least once, and the two men tussled on the floor before being separated by coworkers. SF stated in a written report of the incident that it was Grievant who initiated the physical contact by throwing an elbow as SF walked to his toolbox. SF wrote that the two men exchanged words before Grievant struck him twice in the chin. Based on the statements made by Grievant and SF, Grievant was terminated from his position for instigating the fight and SF was given a 3 day suspension. HOLDING: Grievant was reinstated with back pay. Arbitrator Otis H. King held that since SF was unwilling to provide verbal testimony, that there was no choice but to take Grievant at his word that he was not the initiator of the physical conduct, and as such was acting in self defense.
LOCAL 134 - Vancouver, BC The District of West Vancouver
Local President Geoffrey Devlin and International Vice President Bob Hykaway report settlement. TERM:
4/1/08 - 3/31/12
Top Operator 4/1/08 - 3% - 75¢ - $25.80 (was $25.05) 4/1/09 - 3% - 77¢ - $26.57 4/1/10 - 3% - 78¢ - $27.37 4/1/11 - To Be Determined
Top Mechanic 4/1/08 - 3.5% - $1.04 - $30.65 (was $29.61) 4/1/09 - 3.5% - $1.07 - $31.72 4/1/10 - 3.5% - $1.11 - $32.83 4/1/11 - To Be Determined H & W:
In lieu of payment @ 20% grandfathered for current employees. New hires paid @ 13.5% improved dental
VACATION: 8 years of service - 4 weeks 16 years of service - 5 weeks TOOL ALLOW.: 55¢/hour SHOE ALLOW.: Maintenance $175/$300 over 24 month period CLEANING ALLOW.: bi-weekly - $13 NOTE:
Shift differential - $1.45/hour. Tire premium - $2.50/hour. Sunday pay rate - time and ½
LOCAL 587 - Seattle, WA King County Metro Transit
Local President Lance Norton and International Vice President Ron Heintzman report settlement. TERM:
11/1/07 - 10/31/10
Top Operator 11/1/07 - 3% 11/1/08 - 3% 5/1/09 - 1% 11/1/09 - 3%
76¢ 78¢ 27¢ 81¢
$26.10 (was $25.34) $26.88 $27.15 $27.97
Top Mechanic 11/1/07 - 3% 11/1/08 - 3% 5/1/09 - 1% 11/1/09 - 3%
87¢ 89¢ 31¢ 93¢
$29.85 (was $28.98) $30.74 $31.05 $31.98
3% minimum - 6% maximum 11/1/08-1/1/09
H & W:
Benefits maintained through May 2009. Any change in 2010 will be approved through Labor-Management Insurance Committee
HOLIDAYS: Add 2 for part-time (4th of July & Labor Day) SICK LEAVE: Accumulated compensatory (AC) time maximum 100 hours (was 80) TOOL ALLOW.: $779 (to $826) SHOE ALLOW.: $200 BREAKS:
1 (15) minute over 5 hours, 2 (15) minute breaks over 8 hours
Vehicle Maintenance Division - lead pay is 10% above top step plus shift differential. The contract was ratified by a vote of 1402 to 1146.
LOCAL 757 - Portland, OR
First Transit (Tri-Met Lift) was Laidlaw Transit, Inc. CORRECTION: The May/June In Transit incorrectly listed the charter city for Local 256 as Concord, CA. It should have listed Sacramento, CA.
Local President Jon Hunt and International Vice President Ron Heintzman report settlement. TERM:
11/1/07 - 12/1/2011 4 years
Top Operator 12/1/07 - 4.0% 12/1/08 - 4.0% 12/1/09 - 7.3% 12/1/10 - 6.2%
Accident/Attendance/No complaints/uniform compliance bonus $50/month, additional $100/quarter and additional $250/year
H & W:
100% employer paid employee only coverage. Dependent: 12/1/08 employer contribution 65% with 3+ years of service, 70% with 10+ years of service. 12/1/09 - employer contribution 75% with 3+ years of service, 80% with 10+ years of service
- 69¢ - 72¢ - $1.36 - $1.23 -
PROBATION: 120 days
$17.92 (was $17.23) $18.64 $20.00 $21.23
H & W: Employee contribution $100/month single, $150/month employee +child, $300/month family. Employer annual contribution to HRA $2,000 single, $4,000 family LIFE INSUR.: $10k, $10k Accidental Death & Dismemberment VACATION:
1 to 2 years of service - 1 week 3 to 6 years of service - 2 weeks 7 to 9 years of service - 3 weeks 10+ years of service - 4 weeks effective 1/1/09, 20 years of service - 5 weeks
LIFE INSUR.: $20,000
HOLIDAYS: 6 + 1 floater, 10+ years of service add one floater
SICK LEAVE: 5 hours/month
1/1/09 employer match 25% of 1st 6% of employee contribution 1/1/11 employer match 40% of 1st 6% of employee contribution
BEREAVEMENT: 3 days paid for immediate family
HOLIDAYS: Add one personal day with 12+ months of continuous service - 12/1/10. 1/1/09 - Holiday bonus paid during July in each year of contract with 1+ years of service - full-time - $150, part-time - $75
LONGEVITY: 10 years of service - 20¢/hour 15 years of service - 40¢/hour 20 years of service - 60¢/hour
LOCAL 757 - Portland, OR
Paratransit Services, Inc. (Bend, OR)
Local President Jon Hunt and International Vice President Ron Heintzman report 1st agreement.
LOCAL 1145 - Binghamton, NY
7/1/08 - 6/30/11
Top Operator 7/1/08 - 15.3% - ($1.00 + *$1.00) - $15.06 (was $13.06) 7/1/09 - 5.0% - 75¢ - $15.81 7/1/10 - 5.0% - 80¢ - $16.61
* plus an additional $1 for those beyond the 1 year anniversary of reaching the top step (60 months)
Local President Peter Schiraldi and International Vice President Larry Hanley report settlement.
Dispatcher 7/1/08 - 15.7% - ($1.00 + *$1.00) - $14.75 (was $12.75) 7/1/09 - 5.0% - 74¢ - $15.49 7/1/10 - 5.0% - 77¢ - $16.26 H & W:
Employer pays 100% employee only premium - increases split 50/50 over life of agreement - maximum $25 for employee
1 years of service - 80 hours 5 years of service - 120 hours 15 years of service - 160 hours - Part-time earn ½ vacation accrual of full-time
Training pay - $1/hour Shift differential - 50¢/hour between 8 p.m. - 4 a.m. The contract was ratified by a vote of 37 to 4.
1/1/06 - 12/31/09
Top Operator 1/1/06 - 1/1/07 - 3.0% 1/1/08 - 3.0% 1/1/09 - 3.0%
58¢ 60¢ 61¢
- $19.30 - $19.88 - $20.48 - $21.09
Top Mechanic 1/1/06 - 1/1/07 - 3.0% 1/1/08 - 3.0% 1/1/09 - 3.0%
59¢ 61¢ 62¢
- $19.61 - $20.20 - $20.81 - $21.43
HOLIDAYS: Part-time eligible for 4 hours pay/holiday LONGEVITY:
SICK LEAVE: Full-time - 6 days annually, Part-time - 3 days annually HOLIDAYS: Full-time - 9 paid holidays, Part-time - 4 paid holidays
5 years of service - $750 10 years of service - $1,000 15 years of service - $1,200 20 years of service - $1,450 25 years of service - $1,550
BEREAVEMENT: 3 days
TOOL ALLOW.: $450 mechanics, $500 senior mechanics
Employer will reimburse employee for cost of DOT medical exams
Passenger can operators entitled to 4 sick days and 4 vacation days/year. Night shift differential: 40¢/hour.
LOCAL 1005 - Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
Rochester City Lines Company, Inc.
Local President Michelle Sommers and International Vice President Janis Borchardt report 1st agreement. TERM:
1/1/08 - 12/31/10
Top Operator 1/1/08 - - - - - $18.90 1/1/09 - 3.5% - 66¢ - $19.56 1/1/10 - 3.0% - 59¢ - $20.15
Dispatcher 1/1/08 - - - - $19.90 1/1/09 - 3.5% - 70¢ - $20.60 1/1/10 - 3.0% - 62¢ - $21.22
ATU Training and Events
November 16 – 21
Financial Secretary Seminar Silver Spring, MD
November 18 – 23
Arbitration Seminar Silver Spring, MD JULY/AUGUST 2008
In Memoriam Death Benefits Awarded May 1, 2008 - June 30, 2008 1- MEMBERS AT LARGE FONNIE C. BAILEY EUGENE R. BARNETT HERBERT PAUL CARSON ALBERT F. EVERETT HOLLIS L. HADDOCK LESTER G. KLEISER GEORGE H. KNIGHT FREDERICK E. KNOPP DONALD L. LUKEHART GEORGE L. SNEDEGAR TEODORO VELAZQUEZ
EDWARD CHARLES SWIFT LUCIANO TARSITANO KENNETH B. TAYLOR CHARLES R. WHITTON
22- WORCESTER, MA ROBERT E. BORELLI RAYMOND J. FONTAINE
241- CHICAGO, IL PEDRO L. ALICEA ARTHUR BRADFORD WALLACE E. BROWN EDWARD CECH FRANK COLEMAN TERESA DE LEONARDIS GEORGE R. DE ROSE ROY H. GAINES ALONZO HOOPER JOSEPH A. KELSO WILBERT LEMBACHNER JAMES R. LEWIS FRANCIS J. MICETICH EMANUEL P. PAUL JOHN G. PELZMAN VICKIE ROSS L. C. SHAW NATHAN W. SMITH GEORGE C. THURSTON LARRY WILSON DAVID L. YOUNG STEPHEN J. ZAHORA MELVIN O. ZAHR
26- DETROIT, MI JOHN C. BILLINGSLEA PAUL BRUNSON J. C. CHEATHAM ERIC D. MC KNIGHT ROBERT W. MEADOWS CHARLES O’KARSKI ROBERT A. SCHLEY JR. 85- PITTSBURGH, PA BEVERLY A. BRADFORD JASON C. GUNN DENNIS KAMAUF JOHN S. MADEJA FRANCIS P. MARTIN JOSEPH N. MONACO STEVE P. POCHIBA THOMAS J. SCHIELA THOMAS R. WARREN 103- WHEELING, WV JAMES D. FAHEY 107- HAMILTON, ON ALEXANDER J. LANARI 113- TORONTO, ON WILLIAM ALFRED BALL SHIRAZ BOGA THOMAS C. BRENNAN ZBIGNIEW BUREK THOMAS A. CLARK THOMAS G. CLARK RAYMOND A. CUNEO CHARLES DEGUARA MATTHEW R. GOUGH REGINALD J. GRANT RONALD HENRY JOHN JAMES HYLAND TALIS KORNETS ALLAN HARVEY LOWE BRUCE WILLIAM LYNN CLEMENTE MALATESTA RONALD MARTIN RAYMOND R. MC CARTNEY THOMAS H. MC CULLOCH GARY C. MERCER EDWARD O’BRIEN CHARLES EDWARD PRATT ALDO REALE THOMAS D. RICHARDSON CHARLES W. ROBINSON JOHN RYAN ROBERT VINCENT STIER
INTRANSIT TRANSIT IN
192- OAKLAND, CA ALANZA CRIBBS VERNON O. MOORE SAMMIE L. MORRIS ARNOLD R. SCOTT GERALD SIDNEY RICHARD WAYNE WHITE
256- SACRAMENTO, CA CARSTEN BARRIOS 265- SAN JOSE, CA WARREN D. HOPPER GEOFFREY A. RUCHENSKI
540- TRENTON, NJ JOESPH DOMINSKI HENERY W. JETTER JR.
713- MEMPHIS, TN FRED L. NORTON BENNIE DEE WATTS
569- EDMONTON, AB DOUGLAS KURYLO
714- PORTLAND, ME ROBERT C. HILL
580- SYRACUSE, NY BERNARD M. DUFFY
726- STATEN ISLAND, NY VINCENT CRISPINO TIMOTHY GALLAGHER RICHARD P. GRANT NICHOLAS INGIANE
583- CALGARY, AB GEORGE P. CHEASLEY DAVID DALGETTY COATES RANDY FISCHER STEVE G. LAKUSTA DAVID F. LEITCH EDWARD LICHKOWSKI WILFRED R. MC CORMICK JOHN K. PAWSON 587- SEATTLE, WA CHRISTIAN S. JENSEN JR. DONALD W. LICHT CLARENCE E. MEYER CHALMER H. PETERSON 588- REGINA, SK MURRAY CHARTRAND LEITH WOLF 589- BOSTON, MA PETER J. ARDOLINO JAMES J. BREEN CHESTER F. COTTER JR. FRED L. DALE EUGENE F. DONOHOE SUSAN C. LAWRENCE-MILLER LAWRENCE J. LITCHFIELD ROBERT E. O’MALLEY ANDREW J. OWENS DANIEL F. SHAUGHNESSY DANIEL C. STAPLES 615- SASKATOON, SK ABE EDWIN NIKKEL WILLIAM J. STEINER
268- CLEVELAND, OH JOHN J. CONLON ISABELL DAVIS
618- PROVIDENCE, RI JOSEPH M. MC LELLAN
279- OTTAWA, ON GRAHAM R. OVER
627- CINCINNATI, OH VENTIS W. THOMAS
282- ROCHESTER, NY JOHN E. GATES JOHN M. LUTZ EUGENIA M. SANDS
425- HARTFORD, CT LEO T. HUGHES
689- WASHINGTON, DC PHILLIP N. CARTER BENNIE T. DIXON HARRY C. HILL LEWIS JAMES KEITH D. JONES JIN H. LEE JOAN F. LEWIS CLIFTON F. LINKINS KENNETH MONTGOMERY LEON W. MYERS JANICE F. NICKENS HARDEN EDDIE PARKS LOUIS C. WALTERS MELVIN D. WHITE ULYSSES L. WILSON KERMIT T. WOOLDRIDGE
508- HALIFAX, NS GARY M. FIELD
694- SAN ANTONIO, TX ALBERT F. MARTINEZ
308- CHICAGO, IL JOHN A. BRIGHT EUEL BUNTON EARL HASKELL JULIUS MOORE JOHN L. NEELY PATRICK J. NOLAN ELSIE L. ROBERTS
732- ATLANTA, GA WILLIAM C. BISHOP CHARLENE R. THORNTON 757- PORTLAND, OR DEBORAH S. EAKIN DAVID L. HOFFMAN RANDY L. LAWSON LARRY R. MALLONEE EDWIN HENRY MC CLINCY DONALD R. PULLEN 788- ST. LOUIS, MO PAUL C. BEEMAN RAYMOND F. BUSH WILFORD E. CLARK BILLIE L. FARQUER JAMES MORRIS WARREN F. PURVIANCE R. V. TAYLOR 801- ALTOONA, PA ERNEST C. KELLER 819- NEWARK, NJ RENE CADET JOHNNIE EVANS JR. HELEN MEHTA 823- ELIZABETH, NJ ROBERT C. RAWCLIFFE HARRY SCHWARZ 842- WILMINGTON, DE JAMES DAVENPORT LAMOTTE C. EVANS ROBERT E. SCHWARZ 843- BELLINGHAM, WA SHIRLEY A. PETTY 846- ST. CATHARINES, ON RALPH V. RICHARDSON 878- EVANSVILLE, IN BETTY M. FOLZ 880- CAMDEN, NJ BENJAMIN BISCHER 998- MILWAUKEE, WI DEL D. PORTER 1001- DENVER, CO KENNETH R. GREEN JESSIE T. SERELL WILLIAM F. TECKLENBURG STEVEN TIGYI JACK WEINER ALICIA MARIE WRIGHT
1005- MINNEAPOLIS & ST. PAUL, MN WILLIAM C. HANNER PATRICK M. KLINE DEWAYNE G. MOREAULT ARLENE M. POOL HAROLD R. WREATH
1374- CALGARY, AB JAMES R. BLASKO CLIFFORD SWANSON GEORGE ZUBER
1070- INDIANAPOLIS, IN ROBERT MYRICK RICHARD H. ROBINSON ARTHUR WILSON
1436- HARRISBURG, PA RICHARD C. COOK WILLIAM I FETTERMAN KENNETH JAROMIN ROBERT A. SHUTT
1095- JACKSON, MI MERLE J. SHORTHOUSE 1177- NORFOLK, VA RONALD A. PIERCE 1179- NEW YORK, NY ISIDORE ANAHORY VICTOR COFFMAN FRANCIS C. YOUNG JR. 1181- NEW YORK, NY CYNTHIA CANADY MICHAEL CIRRINCIONE LOUIS FRISENDA JOHN F. GORI FRESNEL INNOCENT EVELYN M. LUKAS JOHN MENDEZ MARJORIE O’BRIEN JOHN RIZZO ANNE ROCCHIO ANTHONY J. SPONZA HENRY TERRANOVA VIDALINA VEGA 1212- CHATTANOOGA, TN JEFFERSON W. BURGESS
1385- DAYTON, OH DARRYL O. MILLER
1462- ST. JOHN’S, NF WILLIAM HALEY 1496- WILLIAMSPORT, PA BERTRAM G. JOHNSON 1505- WINNIPEG, MB JAMES DEAN RAYMOND J. GUENETTE DON J. SWEETLAND 1547- BROCKTON, MA GERARD M. MC CARTHY 1555- OAKLAND, CA RICHARD L. ENARSON 1575- SAN RAFAEL, CA PHILLIP H. CHAPMAN 1576- LYNNWOOD, WA MUCHUGIA MWASI 1577- WEST PALM BEACH, FL ISMAEL E. DOMINGUES
1589- LONG BEACH, CA 1225- SAN FRANCISCO, CA LUIS E. MORALES ELLSWORTH AMOS JR. GORDON BENSON 1625- BUFFALO, NY NELSON E. MOORE 1241- LANCASTER, PA LEWIS R. SEIBERT 1626- EDISON, NJ MICHAEL T. FOX 1277- LOS ANGELES, CA HERIBERTO A. ARGUELLES 1700- CHICAGO, IL DAVID A. KINSER GERALD W. ENGLERT JOE A. LUJAN JOSEPH A. MC CONNELL ORVILLE L. STEENBOCK DAVID D. RUSSELL MARIO A. UGALDE LARRY E. SOWERS FRANCISCO L. STEVENSON 1287- KANSAS CITY, MO ROLAND L. TUTTLE HENRY A. THOMAS 1300- BALTIMORE, MD JANICE E. BRIDGES CLIFTON A. JOHNSON LARRY D. WORTHAM
1742- CHARLESTON, WV KENNY W. DOTSON 1764- WASHINGTON, DC JAMES ERNEST ELLIOT
1321- ALBANY & TROY, NY KENNETH REBUSMEN
1336- BRIDGEPORT, CT STEPHEN E. RAKIEC
1342- BUFFALO, NY W. T. BURNETT CLARA JONES
Willing to Make a Difference ‘If I feel I can make a difference, then I’m there, willing to do that.’
— Patti Gieni
atti Gieni’s father taught her that helping others was just their way of life. And in rural Saskatchewan where she grew up there were a lot of opportunities to do just that. So it’s not hard to understand where she obtained the values that have motivated her to a life of service.
The Conservatives have tenuous control over Parliament now, and it is thought that the time is ripe for the NDP (which aligns with Labour) to gain more seats in the House of Commons. The Conservative government has until Fall 2009, to hold an election.
Gieni is the New Democratic Party nominee for Parliament from Blackstrap, SK, as well as a 14-year member of Local 615-Saskatoon, SK. She worked as a bus driver for City of Saskatoon for 10 years, and a dispatcher for the last four, becoming quite involved in her local along the way.
LOOKING OUT FOR ‘THE LITTLE GUY’
She was first elected financial secretary of the local in 1998, and still serves in that capacity. For the last eight years she has also served as a vice president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, representing locals of the many unions in the province with under 1,000 members.
BIG JOBS These are big jobs, but she’s used to it. Over the years she has served as a school trustee, a councilor, and later as mayor for the resort village of Thode. And, as the mother of four grown boys, she says, “there isn’t a diamond, or ball court” she hasn’t visited in the area.
Gieni is motivated by the same thing that motivates the ATU and the labour movement: “the prosperity gap between the rich and the poor.” “We [the NDP] are the voice for the average working person,” she says. “We’re working to maintain public health care, and to keep college education affordable.” “We look out for the ‘little guy,’ she continues. “We watch out for seniors who need assisted living, and for those who are their caretakers.” Gieni is quick to point out, however, that contrary to popular impression, she, and the NDP are not anti-business. “We need business,” she emphasizes. Patti Gieni is part of a long tradition of ATU political activism in Canada that stretches back over 100 years. She is another reason we are “proud to be ATU.”
Having been active in the NDP for many years, it seemed like a natural progression when the party asked her to run for Parliament. The seat is currently held by a Conservative Party member who Gieni says has been practically “invisible” in representing her riding (district) in Parliament.
— ATU DISASTER RELIEF FUND —
International President George Asks For Your Help in Aiding ATU Flood Victims “Cleaning out the house was like having a death in the family. My wife and I were actually married in that house. Everything we had was now gone.”
- Chris Poyer, 638-Cedar Rapids, IA.
Dear Fellow ATU Member, I recently sent you a letter asking you to help our ATU Midwest flood victims like Chris and Jennifer Poyer, and their seven-year-old daughter, Sarah, from Local 638, in Cedar Rapids, IA. If you have not received it yet, you will soon. I hope you will consider sending a contribution to help our fellow members in need. Imagine, as I wrote in the letter, how you would feel if, like the Poyers, you returned to what was your home to find everything gone or destroyed. Everything – all furniture, appliances, pictures, keepsakes; all of Sarah’s toys, including her stuffed doll collection; and even Chris’ prized baseball from the 1975 World Series. Returning home was “unreal,” Chris said. “Everything was drenched. Black mold was growing on everything, and the stench was unbearable. Cleaning out the house was like having a death in the family. My wife and I were actually married in that house,” he said. I’m asking you, and all of our members, to send whatever you can to help our flood victims today. Please fill out the contribution card in the letter and send $100, $50, $25, or anything you can afford. No amount is too small. The ATU is family. And in times of crisis the ATU helps its family members in need. Please send whatever you can today. Sincerely,
Warren S. George International President
If you are an ATU flood victim, please fill out the form at atu.org, or ask your local for a copy, and send it in to International Headquarters right away.
Amalgamated Transit Union
AFL-CIO/CLC 5025 Wisconsin Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20016 www.atu.org
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