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SUITING UP FOR BATTLE ATU SUITS UP FOR NEW CHALLENGES AT 57TH CONVENTION IN SAN DIEGO
O F F I C I A L J O U R N A L O F T H E A M A LG A M AT E D T R A N S I T U N I O N | A F L- C I O/C LC
INTERNATIONAL OFFICERS LAWRENCE J. HANLEY International President ROBERT H. BAKER International Executive Vice President OSCAR OWENS International Secretary-Treasurer
INTERNATIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS LARRY R. KINNEAR
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JAVIER M. PEREZ, JR.
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NEWSBRIEFS ON THE COVER - ATU suiting up for the battle at 57th Convention - The Lee Judge political cartoon on the cover says it all. It was recently published in the Kansas City Star in response to the latest of three assaults on Kansas City, MO bus drivers. In the attack, two young men boarded a bus, loudly cursing the driver for being late, neglecting to pay their fare. When the driver told them to leave and attempted to escort them off the bus, the alleged assailants punched, kicked, and stabbed him. That was just one of the life-threatening assaults upon bus drivers that took place within the span of three weeks in Canada and the United States. In June a Washington, DC passenger hit a Local 689 driver as she boarded, and, later, while he was driving. In Cleveland, OH A Local 268 driver was attacked by a group teens after telling them they couldn’t smoke on RTA property. A Kelowna, BC rider stabbed a Local 1722 driver with syringe (see story on page ?). These are just a few of the assaults we know of. How many more are there that we don’t hear about? The problem of driver assaults is one of many critical issues transit workers are facing in 2013. Privatization, elimination of pensions, rising health care costs, dwindling wages, cuts to transit are just a few that are impacting all workers The ATU has been working to fight back. And, the delegates to the 57th Convention in San Diego, CA will take a hard look at how our union has been doing things and retool to find new ways. Our future and that of all working people depend on it. Stay tuned.
NYC Punks Beware - The number of security cameras on NYC buses has more than doubled since last summer and some drivers, fearful of being attacked, are even packing “Mace.” On average, approximately seven drivers a month are slapped, punched or even stabbed while on duty, according to Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) statistics. Transit officials hope more technology, along with other steps, will help turn the tide. However, the increase still means only about 21% of the buses will have these cameras.
INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTATIVES ANTHONY WITHINGTON
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INTERNATIONAL OFFICERS EMERITUS
International President Jim La Sala, ret. International President Warren George, ret.
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International Executive Vice President Ellis Franklin, ret. International Executive Vice President Mike Siano, ret.
Washington, DC – firstname.lastname@example.org
CANADIAN DIRECTOR MICHAEL MAHAR
Rexdale, ON - email@example.com
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, Designer: 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. PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40033361.RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO:APC Postal Logistics, LLC, PO Box 503, RPO, West Beaver Creek, Richmond Hill ON L4B 4R6.
LARRY HANLEY, INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
hen I got a job driving a bus 35 years ago my friends and relatives, even our neighbors congratulated me even though they knew how hard it was to drive a bus in New York. By the way it still is, in New York or anywhere else. They were all happy because I got a union job. Back in 1978 that meant decent wages and good benefits, job security. I would be able to take care of my family when I got one, and retire when the time came. Transit was just one of the good union jobs out there. There were good manufacturing jobs, construction jobs, working for the city or state or the phone company, teaching. All good union jobs with decent pay, good benefits and a real future. Like most of us I believed that if all our unions stayed strong on the job and took care of our business we would all keep getting ahead and we would all have that decent life. So I devoted myself to making sure my Union, ATU, stayed strong on the job.
View from the wheelhouse It’s 2013. I’m not looking at things from behind the wheel but from the wheelhouse as the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union and as a member of the AFLCIO Executive Council. The reality I see is not good, for transit workers and workers in every other industry. Managements had already been gaining ground by the time I was hired, and its gotten a lot worse. Globalization has steadily eaten away at the compensation of the union jobs that it hasn’t been able to eliminate. And even if a union job can be found, it no longer holds the promise of a decent life for decades like it used to. We’re just not getting ahead, and if we don’t do something fast our children will fall even further behind.
leaders. We can be the ones who hang on until unions are completely beaten down and crushed, or we can be the ones who turn things around. We can hope that some of our cities will be the last ones to privatize transit or we can be right in the middle of a popular movement that saves and expands mass transit. I think one ATU local president got it exactly right at a recent meeting. “If we don’t stop the attacks on the working class we won’t have any more contracts to negotiate.” Here’s what I have learned. No union is strong enough to take care of business by itself. Even all unions together aren’t. There are just not enough of us. But if all the people who need and deserve a decent life get together we will all be strong enough. Unions are the only ones strong enough today to pull all those powerful voices together.
Who will decide? One other thing. Doing things the way we always did is going to get us the results we always got. In 2013 that is not good enough. Working people in America and Canada are in trouble. Somebody is going to decide what having a job is going to mean in the future, what retirement is going to look like, what kind of education our kids will get, what kind of life they can look forward to. Either the rich and powerful will decide or working people will. One or the other. Our unions have to be the strong organizing center for a decent life for every man, woman and child in North America. The ATU has to be there. That’s what the 2013 Convention is going to be all about.
I only see two choices for my generation of union IN TRANSIT
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OSCAR OWENS, INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY-TREASURER
CONVENTION PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY FOR SOLIDARITY AND ACTION
t the end of August delegates from most of our locals will gather from all parts of Canada and the United States to participate in the 57th International Convention in San Diego, CA. And most of you will have at least one delegate representing you at the gathering.
Why is it important?
More than likely, however, since most members don’t attend local union meetings, you don’t know who those delegates are, and you may not even care.
I know that many members will find that hard to believe – but that’s because they haven’t kept up-to-date with news about their Union and the labor movement.
In a way that’s understandable. The vast majority of our members will never go to a Convention, and they have a hard time getting excited about an event that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with them.
I urge every single one of you to check out the ATU Convention website every day during the Convention. I think you’ll find it an eye-opening experience, and maybe you’ll come away just a little more motivated to get involved with this grand enterprise called the Amalgamated Transit Union.
But that’s where they’re wrong. The issues discussed and the decisions made at the Conventions are of vital importance to every one of us in this Union.
Reorganization We will be discussing a reorganization plan for the Union at this Convention that we believe will make your local more effective in representing you to your employer. For the first time we will be offering training at the Convention that we believe will improve the skills your officers use in representing you. We will be passing resolutions that will affect the directions the Union takes in the future. All of these things affect the organization that fights for your wages and benefits every day.
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And that should be important to us all, because, to be brutally honest, if labor unions disappeared tomorrow it wouldn’t be long before most transit workers were working for minimum wage, or less.
The Union is only as strong as its members make it. We need you to strengthen the Union with your voice and your participation. There’s nothing we can’t accomplish if we all act together, in solidarity.
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2 International Officers & General Executive Board NEWS Briefs 3 International President’s Message: Looking Back, Looking Ahead 4 International Secretary-Treasurer’s Message: Convention Provides Opportunity for Solidarity and Action
Vol. 122, No. 4
DELEGATES TO 57TH CONVENTION TO ATTEND WORKSHOPS, REVIEW MAJOR RESTRUCTURING PLAN
5 Index Page 6 Legislative Report: New Congressional Caucus to Fight for Public Transportation 13 New Bills in Commons Deem Driver Assault an Aggravating Circumstance 14 Employer Support for Transit Surging Locally, Fractured Nantionally 16 Contract Disputes Drag on in Tempe-Mesa, St. Louis, and Westmoreland, PA
RETOOLING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
17 High Court Ruling Opens Door to Discrimination Against Minorities, Riders 18 Union Summer Brings Young Interns to ATU in Atlanta 19 Above and Beyond: Seattle’s Al Ramey Safely Drives Into History Books 20 Winnipeg Drivers Cool to Police Cadet Security idea Two Assaults in Two Weeks Have Kelowna Members Calling for Mandatory Sentences 21 Safety Still A Big Issue In Contract Negotiations
BART LABOR DISPUTE PIVOTAL TO US LABOR MOVEMENT
22 Nearly 74% Favor Using Tax Dollars for Increased Investment in Transportation 24 Transportation for Seniors ‘Underfunded, Underdeveloped’ 25 Commuters Should Not Be Penalized for Choosing Public Transit International Headquarters Runs on Clean Energy 26 New Transit Coalition Unites Against Washington DC Privatization Three Portland Stabbings Needed to Get Security
IS YOUR STATE LEGISLATOR A MEMBER OF ALEC?
27 Translations (Spanish) 30 In Memoriam 31 ATU Hero - Brother Ivan Gayvoronskie 32 Keep Up To Date With The 57th Convention Online!
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L E G I S L AT I V E R E P O R T
New Congressional caucus to fight for public transportation ATU
and transit workers are going to have new champions in Congress with the recently formed U.S. Congressional Public Transportation Caucus. Founded by Representatives Dan Lipinski, D-IL, and Michael Grimm, R-NY, the bipartisan caucus will address issues facing rail, light rail, bus rapid transit and traditional bus service.
Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-IL
Rep. Michael Grimm, R-NY
With aging assets, decreased funding and increased ridership putting serious pressure on America’s public transportation systems, the caucus will provide members with an opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue on the challenges and needs of mass transit agencies across the country. In Transit interviewed Reps. Grimm and Lipinski about the new caucus. Here are our questions and their answers:
In Transit: What led to your decision to co-chair the first-ever public transit caucus in the U.S. Congress? Rep. Grimm: Representing two large communities in New York City, which is home to the largest public transportation system in the United States, it was an easy decision for me to agree to co-chair the caucus. Ensuring adequate funding and resources for our nation’s public transportation sector has always been a priority of
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mine in Congress. This caucus provides a unique and effective tool to gather together like-minded Members of the House to advance the needs of their constituents and inform our colleagues on the importance of public transportation to our nation’s economic growth. A strong public transit system is crucial to our economy and our livelihood, which is why it must be maintained, updated and improved to meet growing demand and ensure the highest levels of safety. Unfortunately, there is currently a wide gap between where our public transportation infrastructure needs to be and where it actually is today. That is why this caucus is so important. As co-chair of the Congressional Public Transportation Caucus, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on solutions that will improve our aging public transportation system and move it forward into the 21st Century. Rep. Lipinski: The people who depend on public transit need a stronger voice in Congress. I’ve long been a transit advocate, and represent a Congressional district where commuters rely on the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra commuter rail, and Pace suburban bus service. I understand the needs of riders of public transportation because I have always been one of them. Growing up in Chicago, I took the CTA bus to school and to work downtown during the summer. In college I would take the CTA ‘L’ into the city. Now I ride Metra rail into downtown from my home in the suburbs. And when I am in Washington, DC, I ride the Metro to avoid all the traffic on the streets. Transit is a vital public service and it’s critical to the economy – especially as fuel prices fluctuate. Millions of Americans rely on public transit to get to jobs, school, doctor’s appointments, or even the grocery store.
and live in a place as vibrant and economically crucial to our nation as New York City. With the largest public transit system in the nation, New York City moves millions of commuters each day by bus, rail, and ferry. Currently my constituents face the longest commute times in the nation, averaging two hours spent commuting each day. This is 40 hours a month spent just traveling to and from work!
International Vice President Javier Perez, Jr., left, is seen here at a recent event with Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-IL
But times are tough in the current budget climate, which means transit agencies face difficult choices. And transit service is often under attack by some in Congress who think it’s too heavily subsidized by federal gas tax money. Last year, some in Congress proposed stripping transit out of the Highway Trust Fund, which would have jeopardized a dedicated funding source for local bus and rail agencies. I opposed that proposal for many of the reasons I mentioned above, and we were successful in preserving transit funding in the most recent transportation bill known as MAP-21. But it’s one example of why I feel we need a Public Transportation Caucus to keep Members of Congress informed about the challenges that transit agencies face, and how investing in safe and reliable transit options can make communities better places to live, work, and run a business. It’s an investment in better transportation options, less congested roads for those who do drive, and cleaner air and water. Transit also is an investment in the workforce. For every $1 billion of capital spending on transit, 24,000 jobs are created according to a report by the Economic Development Research Group. Additionally, transit has been shown to increase nearby property values and relieve the economic costs and pollution caused by traffic congestion. In Transit: Why is public transportation so important in your community? Rep. Grimm: In Congress, I represent Staten Island and Brooklyn, two areas that are extremely reliant on public transportation to provide the ability to work
Over the next decade, funding, state of good repair, and service cuts will put significant pressure on these systems and will need to be thoughtfully addressed. This caucus provides a platform to bring these issues to the forefront of discussion and tackle the tough issues facing public transportation and the needs of its users. Rep. Lipinski: Public transportation is vital to people from all walks of life in northeastern Illinois. In Chicago, there are more than 1.7 million boardings every weekday on trains and buses operated by the CTA – the nation’s second largest public transportation system. Metra, which operates 11 commuter rail lines between downtown Chicago and its suburbs, provided more than 80 million trips last year in a service area the size of Connecticut. Commuters along Metra’s Heritage Corridor, which serves riders in my district between the City of Joliet and Chicago’s Union Station, are clamoring for more service. We also have the Pace suburban bus service that serves more than 200 communities in six counties in Northeast Illinois. Despite the demand, transit agencies have had to cut or reshuffle service to be more efficient. We are fortunate to have extensive and connected transit options in Northeast Illinois, and they provide obvious economic and environmental benefits to my district. There’s another benefit that’s especially important to the Chicago area, and in turn, the national economy. Chicago is the nation’s freight hub, with goods traveling the roads, rail, air, and inland waterways. Public transit reduces the number of vehicles on our clogged highways and improves the flow of traffic for trucks moving cargo. That benefits consumers by reducing the costs of delivering goods. IN TRANSIT
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But this discussion also is about jobs and the economy, and we need to build a broad coalition that includes chambers of commerce and business owners whose employees and customers depend on transit. The more we can do to educate Members of Congress about the benefits of transit, the better. The more we can do to inform transit users about what’s happening in Congress, the better. I’ve worked hard to represent constituents who depend on public transit, and I’ll continue to do my best to make sure their voices are heard. Local President Daniel Cassella is joined by members of Local 726, Staten Island, NY and Rep. Michael Grimm, R-NY.
In Transit: You are obviously a huge supporter of transit, but many of your colleagues in Congress are not. What are your views on building coalitions of transit workers, riders, and others with a stake in mobility to build grassroots support for transit?
In Transit: What can ATU members do to educate their members of Congress about transit issues? Rep. Grimm: Because of their knowledge of the importance of our transit systems, ATU members are a crucial voice in spreading the message about how important transit is to our nation’s economy.
Rep. Grimm: Here in Congress we’ve seen a groundswell of grassroots support from citizens and organizations across the political spectrum calling on Congress to address transit’s challenges.
By stepping up grassroots advocacy at home through mail, phones and meetings in congressional districts, ATU members can educate their local Member of Congress on the importance of a robust national transit system.
Public transportation is an issue that impacts both rural and urban districts, yet many Members of Congress do not recognize how crucial it is to our economy as a whole.
At the same time, ATU needs to bring the fight to Capitol Hill by engaging and encouraging membership in the public transportation caucus through targeted meetings here in Washington.
I think building coalitions across the spectrum of stakeholders is crucial to moving this issue off the backburner and making it a priority for some of my colleagues. For example, while a Member from a Midwest state may not have a large public transportation system within his or her district, they may very well have manufacturers who employ a large number of people in the production of parts for rail, bus or ferry systems in the district. It is the mobilization of these ‘one-off’ transit providers, the manufacturers and stake holders that may not be in major urban transit hubs, that will help educate their Members of Congress on the importance of our nation’s public transportation system to the greater economy. Rep. Lipinski: Congress needs to hear from the people who depend on transit, which is why I think it’s important to build a coalition of transit workers and riders that can advocate for better service at the federal, state, and local levels. That coalition should include nonprofits that serve the poor and disabled, as well as smart growth organizations.
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Nothing cuts through the clutter of information here in DC like showing a Member of Congress how their support for public transportation affects their constituents directly back home in the district. Rep. Lipinski: The ATU is doing an admirable job of advocating for transit workers and customers. ATU members should continue to engage and develop relationships with members of Congress, whether by visiting members and their staffs or inviting them to attend local events. They should also invite members to see transit in action during a tour of a transit line or facility. It’s important to note that ATU members share the pain with transit agencies, and they shouldn’t hesitate to emphasize the sacrifices they’ve made. That would help demonstrate to skeptical Members of Congress that transit agencies are serious about making every dollar count and being as efficient as possible. And, of course, ATU members should encourage their representative to join the Public Transportation Caucus.
Delegates to 57th International Convention to attend workshops, review major restructuring plan
he Amalgamated Transit Union will hold its 2013 International Convention at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront from August 26 – 30, in California. The theme of the Convention – So Much More – reflects ATU’s conviction that while the Union has accomplished much over the last three years, we have only begun to realize the full potential of our international union. This will be just the 57th time in our 121-year history that delegates representing the entire Union will gather to consider matters of great importance to ATU.
Conventions mandated by ATU Constitution In compliance with the ATU Constitution and General Laws a “General Convention” of the ATU must be held every third year. Rules governing the election of delegates and the number of delegates, based on size, allowed for each local are contained in the Constitution. The assembly of delegates will review ATU’s successes over the last three years including our efforts to build coalitions with our riders; our unprecedented 2012 election campaign; ATU’s campaign to fight assaults on transit workers and bathroom break issues; our Disaster Relief Fund campaign to help members devastated by
Hurricane Sandy, floods and other natural disasters; and much more. Delegates will also hear from notable speakers, address the challenges faced by Labor and transit workers, consider resolutions, elect international officers, and vote upon a plan to restructure the Union to better serve the needs of its members in the 21st Century. The International also plans to take advantage of this historic opportunity by offering first of their kind Convention Training Academy workshops throughout the week to teach delegates how to unlock the potential of their local unions.
Unique training sessions These unique training sessions will cover a wide range of themes and topics to enable delegates and other attendees to improve leadership and management skills, provide information on issues of critical importance and enhance the ability of our officers and members to respond to the new challenges facing our Union, our locals and our members. Members can follow the proceedings through updates that will be posted throughout the week on the Convention website at www.atuconvention2013.com. IN TRANSIT
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RETOOLING FOR THE ST 21 CENTURY UNION PLANS MAJOR RETOOLING TO COUNTER THREATS POSED IN NATIONS’ LEGISLATURES AND TRANSIT INDUSTRY
esponding to unprecedented assaults in our nations’ legislatures, increased attacks on working families and dramatic changes within the transit industry, International President Larry Hanley will unveil a plan at the 57th International Convention in San Diego to retool ATU’s organizational structure. The plan builds upon our strengths to make our Union more effective, more responsive, and more relevant to the lives and livelihood of our members and the communities we serve. The Convention, an event that has happened only 56 times before in the International’s history, will provide a forum for delegates from all over Canada and the United States to discuss this major restructuring of the Union. The plan, which was devised by an International “Structural Exploration Committee” established by resolution of the 56th International Convention in 2010, comes at the same time many other AFL-CIO affiliated unions have formed committees to study and modernize their structures. It will be a virtual roadmap for the future of the program inaugurated by International President Hanley to carry out the 56th Convention’s mandate for change. The Convention will also look outward to further define ATU’s role in bringing all workers together to wrest control of employee compensation from those who refuse to pay a living wage.
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We must do so much more Like many labor unions, ATU has been subjected to relentless attack since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008. These unprecedented assaults threaten to rob members of everything their forbears fought and died for throughout the Union’s 121 years, and assail the very existence of the labor movement itself. Starting in the United States, and now in Canada, cashstrapped metropolitan governments have been contracting out the operation of their transit systems to foreign multinational corporations that promise huge savings – savings that can only be achieved by cutting service and drastically lowering the compensation of ATU members. These new private contractors are not the kind of local and national enterprises our members have encountered in the past. Their most important goal is to send taxpayers’ money overseas, while spending as little as possible here in North America. And like so many other employers today they are taking away pensions, reducing wages, eliminating paid vacation and sick days, lowering health benefits, and raising premiums – if they provide any health coverage at all. In short, today’s new transit privatizers are doing everything they can – including ignoring collective bargaining agreements and court orders – to bust local unions.
Meanwhile, ATU’s organizing efforts have been stymied by corporate-led, anti-union campaigns, while the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their puppets in state legislatures attempt to weaken our collective bargaining rights. It is no exaggeration to say that the new transit privatizers and their stooges in government are trying to push their employees back into the ranks of the working poor – just where transit workers were in 1892.
the structure, operations, priorities and programs of ATU to make sure that the International was serving its members “in the best possible manner.” The Committee subsequently embarked on a yearlong review of the Union to evaluate what was working best, where the International’s problems lie, and how the ATU can do better. As the Committee reviewed the experience of the Union over the last several years, one thing became clear: Most locals need to be better equipped to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with one of the huge multinational corporations that dominate much of mass transit today, and most locals need more help than they’re currently getting to address many of the internal and external problems they regularly encounter. The Committee concluded that ATU needs an intermediate structure that can more readily and efficiently provide that help and support. But rather than attempting to re-invent ATU, the Committee has recommended reviving, re-purposing, and increasing the number of “service councils” that the ATU Constitution already provides for.
We have not stood still, but must do more Over past three years we have not stood still. We have moved aggressively to retool and re-launch our education and training programs. Recognizing the value and power that comes with reaching out to our passengers we have formed coalitions with those we serve, the churches they attend and the businesses they use to stand together to stop the cuts, limit fare increases, and build a wider base of support for safe and effective transit service. We have had success across our two countries. But we can and must do so much more because the attacks on working families continue and the ultra-rich threaten to push our members and all workers back further.
Service councils Like the New Jersey Service Council, which has been operating successfully for many years, these councils would regularly discuss issues, quickly respond to problems, and centralize arbitrations within a defined region. Likewise, the Committee also recommends creating service councils of locals with contracts with a common employer. These councils would operate in much the same way as National Local 1700 does today – negotiating a single contract for all members working for a common employer.
Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures
So, for example, all of the locals representing members working for Veolia in the U.S. or Canada would form a council that would negotiate a single contract for all members employed by that employer within one of those countries.
Realizing that extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures, the delegates to the 2010 Convention charged the Structural Exploration Committee with examining
The councils would be made up of the president/ business agents and financial secretary/business agents of the locals included in the council. IN TRANSIT
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Service councils will have a lot more leverage dealing with large, multinational transit corporations and legislatures than any local can generate on its own.
This “re-tooling” actually formalizes and strengthens a lot of activity that already goes on among locals today. But it does so in a way that regularizes these practices, leaves no one out, and allows the International to fully exploit the resources of every local for the benefit of all.
Strengthening our hand While individual members may not see any difference in the operation of their local, the plan should greatly improve their local officers’ expertise and strengthen their hand in contract negotiations. Service councils will bring the solidarity of an entire region to bear in any dispute with an employer. They will pool the efforts of locals in one area in forming coalitions to elect candidates to office and achieve legislative goals, and provide a unified voice in communications with employers and the public. They will be more effective in conducting long-range campaigns over occupationspecific issues.
The Committee will also make recommendations to the Convention concerning restructuring and retooling education and training programs, strategic research and resources, community-based coalitions, increasing field capacity and accountability, and structuring financial controls and technology.
Rejuvenation Part and parcel of the entire process is a rejuvenation of the spirit that made this Union and all unions great – a spirit of solidarity, yes, but, so much more. It is a spirit that says we can and will overcome any challenge as long as we do it together. It is a spirit that succeeds because we rely on the principal that together all workers are much greater than the sum of their parts. The Committee’s recommendations will go a long way toward regenerating that spirit in ways that will free up the latent potential in our Union to accomplish so much more than we can even imagine now.
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New bills in Commons deem driver assault an aggravating circumstance PROPOSALS INTRODUCED AT ATU’S URGING
he Canadian Council campaign to curb assaults on transit operators got a boost with the tabling (introduction) of two new private member’s bills in the House of Commons designed to protect public transit operators from violence on the job. Both bills were introduced at the urging of ATU local officers the Council brought to Ottawa to visit their members of Parliament in March. “These bills really address one of our major concerns because it’s not just the safety of the operator, but all the other people who the operator has a responsibility for,” says Mike Mahar, director of ATU’s Canadian Council. “We are grateful for what is happening.”
Aggravating circumstance Bill C-531: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (public transit operators) tabled by MP John Rafferty, NDP-Thunder Bay-Rainy River, ON, would require courts, at sentencing, to consider it an aggravating circumstance if the victim of an assault is a public transit operator. Another bill tabled by Deputy Liberal Leader and MP Ralph Goodale, Wascana, SK, would do virtually the same thing. The idea for his bill, says Rafferty, “came from some recent local news stories on a pair of assaults that have occurred on Thunder Bay Transit buses since the start of the year, and after discussions with representatives from ATU Local 966-Thunder Bay, ON.”
The bill was seconded by MP Carol Hughes, NDPAlgoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, ON, who feels that a safe work environment is important and sees this initiative as a step in that direction. “The Amalgamated Transit Union tells us this trend is only increasing,” warns Hughes. “We must act to better protect our public transit employees whose work allows our communities to function. No one should be subjected to violence while at work.”
The Liberal bill Deputy Liberal Leader Goodale tabled his bill after meeting with ATU members who told him there were more than 2,000 assaults on Canadian bus drivers in 2011. “These employees are providing a pretty essential service to the public,” he says, “and they do it at all hours of the day and night.” Goodale knows that no legislation is perfect, but he believes we can send a “pretty strong message through the law that assaulting people who are providing this service is going to carry some pretty serious consequences.”
Respect for victims
Rafferty said bus drivers are dedicated to getting Canadians where they need to go safely. He pledged that New Democrats are committed to making sure that their workplace is as secure as possible, calling attacks against bus drivers completely unacceptable.
Rafferty says the two incidents in question were attacks on drivers, who were in a vulnerable position by the very nature of their job that put the health and well being of the drivers, passengers, and nearby public at risk.
“This is respect for victims and it’s a practical measure,” added Goodale. “It doesn’t involve a great deal of cost. It’s something that I think everybody could agree on as a matter of public policy. It’s not partisan. There’s no ideology involved.”
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Employer support for transit surging locally, fractured nationally
merican employers are organizing and winning better public transportation in many metro areas. Major employers have been promoting state and local transit ballot initiatives that win over 70% of the time. That’s the good news coming out of “Bosses for Buses,” a new study by Good Jobs First. One example used in the study is a 1996 campaign to improve bus service in Staten Island, NY, led by International President Larry Hanley when he was president of Local 726. Hanley pulled together a coalition of riders, religious groups, businesses, the chamber of commerce, elected officials, and others that succeeded in winning a $1 reduction in the express bus fare, dedicated bus lanes and bigger buses. The result? A 125% increase in ridership. “We weren’t selling some crazy idea – we were selling a better economy, a better environment, and a better Staten Island, so we were embraced by all kinds of people who just saw it as a good deal for their city,” Hanley says. “That is what works today, and the ATU is successfully doing just that across North America.”
No unified national voice Unfortunately, there is not a unified national corporate voice for transit. Instead, there are disparate voices speaking only to selected aspects of transit. Local business coalitions – united by geography – are mostly powered by companies that depend on transit, whereas, national advocacy is dominated by companies that sell to transit agencies. There are competing priorities, as well, such as between groups wanting more money for capital versus operating funds.
July/August 2013 | IN TRANSIT
Remarkable local support The study finds most promising the growth of businessled groups in metropolitan areas, as well as some large employers – often universities and hospitals – advocating better transit. And every day, thousands of employers subsidize transit use – or facilitate the use of pre-tax income for monthly fare cards or commuter vanpools. “The remarkable local support for transit demonstrated by so many employers is truly heartening,” says Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First and lead author of the study. “But the lack of a unified corporate voice on federal transit issues begs the big-picture question: ‘When will they organize nationally?’” The entire report can be found at: http://bit.ly/15jmSvQ
BART labor dispute could prove pivotal to US labor movement
n what many are saying could prove pivotal to the modern American labor movement, Local 1555-Oakland, CA, members and SEIU Local 1021 went on a four-day strike against Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) on July 1. They returned to work, July 5, agreeing to a one-month cooling-off period urged by Gov. Jerry Brown. The governor also brought in mediators who ordered a press blackout. ATU and SEIU are asking for a wage increase (they haven’t received one in five years) and improved safety measures. BART has offered a minimal raise, which falls well below the increase in the cost-of-living, and has refused to negotiate over safety issues. BART also wants its employees to pay more for healthcare benefits.
But, still, why drag the Bay Area through a strike when there’s money in the bank? Chris Daley, political director of SEIU Local 1021, says this standoff is about more than the issues at the bargaining table, explaining how the wages and benefits of all workers tend to rise and fall along with the compensation negotiated by unions, which, he says “is why the right has been mercilessly attacking public sector workers.” Regardless of all of the politics, Bryant says, “All we want is a fair wage and a safe workplace. We don’t think that’s too much to ask.”
Misinformation Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant says it’s difficult to negotiate with people who “deliberately distort the truth.” BART officials, for instance, claim their operators make an average of $71,000 annually, and that they have a deficit. “BART does not have a ‘deficit,’” reveals Bryant. “BART faces a massive budget surplus of more than $1.2 billion over the next 10 years. And we don’t make half what they say we make. I’ve worked for BART for 22 years. My salary is $63,000 a year.” Experts say a Bay Area family of four needs roughly $74,341 a year just to get by.
Meanwhile, at AC Transit… During the strike many BART train patrons crowded onto AC Transit buses operated by members of Local 192-Oakland, CA. As it happens, the local and AC Transit are also locked in difficult negotiations over a new bargaining agreement to replace a contract that expired June 30.
“Dissident Voice” blogger David Macaray, a former union rep, says, “Management is purposely inflating the union’s package and poormouthing its own predicament, hoping to crush the union by appealing to the public’s jealousy and resentment.”
Local 192 continues to negotiate saying, “We are at the table and bargaining, but our members will not support going backwards.” The local has agreed to work as long as negotiations continue, and says it will give the public 24 hours notice before striking.
The agency can claim it has a deficit because it has launched “an aggressive expansion policy that is diverting both capital and operating expenditures into new lines… rather than setting some of that money aside for workers,” according the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Both locals want to avoid going on strike, yet the possibility still remains that both locals could end up walking out at the same time bringing San Francisco to a standstill.
| July/August 2013
Contract disputes drag on in Tempe-Mesa, St. Louis, and Westmoreland, PA
here’s labor strife in Tempe-Mesa, AZ; St. Louis, MO; and Westmoreland, PA; as transit agencies and their private contractors continue the disturbing practice of trying to squeeze every last penny out of their workers in contract negotiations.
focus on them. We can keep the buses running and try and work this out with First Transit.”
St. Louis, MO It’s a similar story in St. Louis where Local 788 members have agreed to two extensions even though they have not seen a new contract since June 30, 2009. Negotiations have stalled, wages have stagnated, and health care and pension premiums have risen for Metro’s 1,200 bus operators, MetroLink drivers, mechanics, and clerical workers.
“We don’t want to strike, and we don’t want to abandon the people of St. Louis who rely on us to get to work, school, and other daily tasks,” says Local President Mike Breihan. “We want our riders to know that we stand ready to negotiate a fair contract, but that we cannot accept a contract that essentially sets us back to where we were decades ago.”
Frustrated with the pace of negotiations and unwillingness of management to bargain fairly, members of Arizona Locals 788, 1433, and 1738, have each overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike. Local 1433-Phoenix, AZ, which represents bus and light rail operators, service workers, and mechanics in the Phoenix area, have been engaged, for months, in heated negotiations to reach a settlement with First Transit for their Tempe and Mesa workers. The local decided to extend their expiring contract for 30 days in July, so that a transit strike wouldn’t add to the grief of Phoenix area residents who were mourning the tragic loss of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot Firefighters who lost their lives fighting the Yarnell Hill fire on June 30. Nevertheless, the local’s resolve has remained strong they continue to negotiate for a fair and just contract. “I just think that extending was the right thing to do at that time,” says Local President Bob Bean. “We lost heroes and the community needs time to mourn and
July/August 2013 | IN TRANSIT
Westmorland County, PA Meanwhile, 52 Westmoreland County Transit Authority drivers and mechanics have been working without a contract for nearly a year. Local 1738 continues to bargain, but has failed to reach an agreement with contractor National Express. One long-standing point of contention is the poor condition and safety of the bus fleet.
High Court ruling opens door to discrimination against minorities, riders VOTING RIGHTS OF MILLIONS LEFT UNPROTECTED
recent Supreme Court Voting Rights Act decision turns the clock back to the Jim Crow-era when state laws prevented people of color from voting – creating a permanent underclass in American society. The judgment striking the 1960s-era formula mandating federal preclearance of election laws in states with a history of discrimination, will lead to the voter suppression of millions who cannot easily meet new voter ID law requirements. It will directly hurt transit riders, who are vulnerable to disenfranchisement efforts.
Virtually legalizes voter suppression “The ruling, made during this time of Congressional deadlock, virtually legalizes voter suppression in those states, and encourages it in others,” said ATU
International President Larry Hanley. “These laws, which require that particular picture IDs be provided in order to vote, are a real impediment to voting for those who don’t possess driver’s licenses, and who stand to lose a day’s wages in the attempt to acquire an acceptable alternative.” “The ruling will prove most onerous to the poor, seniors, persons with disabilities, and those who simply choose not to drive and rely on public transportation,” said Andrew Austin, executive director of Americans for Transit (A4T). ATU and A4T pledge to redouble their efforts to encourage voters and transit riders across the country to fight to protect their right to vote.
| July/August 2013
UNION SUMMER BRINGS YOUNG INTERNS TO ATU IN ATLANTA
resh off a victory that killed proposed legislation to privatize Atlanta’s transit system, Local 732 has continued their successful efforts to mobilize riders in their fight for better and more transit for Atlantans. The local has received an infusion of energy and enthusiasm this summer as five interns from the AFLCIO’s Union Summer program are working in Atlanta to help in their campaign. Union Summer is an educational internship program run by the AFL-CIO in which students are introduced to the labor movement by working at unions. After being trained by the AFL-CIO, the interns are sent out in teams across the country to work on critical union drives. Under the tutelage of Local 732, interns have been hard at work leafleting MARTA riders about the rider campaign, visiting garages, attending meetings with community groups and other tasks.
Becoming young union activists Union Summer intern Aimée-Josiane Twagirumukiza believes this experience with Local 732 will help pave
July/August 2013 | IN TRANSIT
a path to a future career. “The various perspectives on organizing have been extremely helpful in developing me as an activist. I know I’ll be walking away from this experience with the skills to design, perform and measure community-based work,” said Twagirumukiza. “The rider engagement trips and the radio interview on WRFG FM have been the most rewarding activities,” she says, “because they’ve challenged me to find ways to frame labor struggles in ways that translate to the dayto-day lives of Atlantans.” Nia James reiterated those same thoughts. “The most rewarding thing about this summer is being surrounded by people that are not only extremely knowledgeable but also posses the passion to fight for what they believe in. I guess the inner activist in me has always admired those two qualities in people,” says James. “Working day to day, listening, and simply observing I’ve learned that unions still play a large role in leveling the playing field between workers and management,” she adds.
Seattle’s Al Ramey safely drives into history books
Metro’s patches for safe driving only go up to 45 years, so to honor the new benchmark Ramey’s wife designed a 50-year patch that he now wears proudly on his coat.
Labor activist “I’ve been a labor activist throughout my career,” says Ramey, who has remained active in his local on many issues. “It is an honor and privilege to be recognized for 50 years of safe driving.”
Imagine driving a bus for 60 years.
More awards may be in Ramey’s future as Metro Transit has nominated him for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s “Wall of Fame” award.
Now imagine having a safe driving record for 50 straight years on the job. That’s what Seattle Metro driver Al Ramey, 587, accomplished, and he might be the only driver ever to earn that distinction at any transit agency. “It takes dedication and common sense to be a safe driver,” Ramey says. “The worst critic I have is the guy I look at in the mirror – and I can’t fool him. I’ve got through life on pride and I try to do a good job for a day’s pay for a day’s work.”
Hired in 1952 Ramey, who turned 82 in June, was originally hired by Seattle Transit in 1952. He was subsequently employed by Suburban Transport Service, which later became Metropolitan Transit. In 1992 he was named Metro’s Operator of the Year. He was awarded a 3 million miles safety award from the National Safety Council in 2000. IN TRANSIT
| July/August 2013
Winnipeg drivers cool to police cadet security idea
recommendation by a Winnipeg councilor that police cadets – not transit special constables – patrol city buses to help the counter assault problem on public transit doesn’t go far enough says Local 1505-Winnipeg, MB. The councilor’s suggestion comes in response to a call by the local to provide more protection and prosecute people who attack transit operators. Assaults on bus drivers have surged in the last year, and there have been 336 reported assaults on drivers since 2000. But, under the proposal police cadets would only be designated as special constables trained to enforce provincial statutes and bylaws against vandalism, panhandling, fare evasion, and loitering. They could use handcuffs and batons, but they would not be armed, and would only be able to detain people until police arrive. “We need real police – transit special constables – to patrol these buses that can actually arrest people who attack drivers, refuse to pay fares or break other laws,” says Local President James Girden. “Riders, who rely on transit each day, and drivers, who work on buses each day, deserve to feel safe every time they step on a bus. We will continue to work to fight for better protection and response times on Winnipeg’s buses. The riders and the drivers need to know that when they call for assistance that it will be available on short notice and the actions will be swift and effective.”
July/August 2013 | IN TRANSIT
Two assaults in two weeks have Kelowna members calling for mandatory sentences
he call across Canada for stronger sentences for criminals who attack transit operators continues as two violent assaults on Kelowna bus drivers occurred within the space of two weeks. “We’re used to dealing with assaults, just not this severity,” says President Les Milton, 1722-Kelowna, BC.
Stabbed with syringe In the first incident, police say, “A woman got onto the bus near Banks Road in Kelowna and remained on the bus despite identifying her destination to be the Orchard Park Mall. Once all the other passengers had departed the woman approached the driver casually and without provocation, allegedly stabbed the [driver] with a syringe.” The 31-year-old woman fled but was later arrested near downtown Kelowna. The operator received immediate medical attention due to the risk of infection.
Broken jaw In the second assault, a passenger punched a driver repeatedly in the head after he refused to allow him to debark before they arrived at the next bus stop. The driver managed to remove the assailant from the bus – but not before receiving a broken jaw. Milton says he won’t be returning to work for some time. The suspect was chased down by a police dog and arrested. According to Milton, the schedules that drivers must keep contribute to the problem. “The system is designed with flaws – the tighter they (transit authorities) can squeeze the routes, the more money they make. This is causing a decrease in customer service and an increase in driver fatigue,” he says.
Safety still a big issue in contract negotiations S
afety on the job has always been a high priority for ATU members. With the increase in assaults on transit workers, it’s becoming an even bigger issue in contract negotiations for locals across the country.
companies that seek to take over public properties: It is skimping on safety, putting unsafe buses on the road and ignoring its own safety rules, hoping that no one will notice.”
In the Bay area, BART workers pointed to serious safety concerns during their four-day strike in July and ongoing contract talks, as on-the-job injuries have risen 43% (according to OSHA), and assaults on station agents have quadrupled from 2009 to 2012.
Howard revealed that “Nearly 30 buses per day have problems that should have been – could have been – addressed before the buses posed a danger.”
One member of Local 1555-Oakland, CA, recently suffered a brutal attack at the hands of several teenagers that has kept her off the job and on workers’ compensation. She was left with two cracked vertebrae, neural damage — including losing the ability to taste — and had at least a dozen teeth replaced. In another incident a worker was punched twice in the face by a fare evader. Local 1555 believes recent staff cutbacks have contributed to the increase in workplace injuries and assaults. As of press time BART negotiators were refusing to negotiate over any of the local’s safety and security concerns, insisting that those were not collective bargaining issues.
Atlanta, GA Local 732-Atlanta, GA, warned MARTA riders of safety concerns in the city’s transit system that were documented in a 300-page comprehensive complaint they sent to 30 city, state and federal agencies and elected officials. Local President Curtis Howard charged in an op-ed published, May 20, in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the agency has ignored their warnings about safety problems, and “is behaving very much like private
MARTA’s General Manager Keith Parker’s response was to implore, “ATU to send a joint letter to the Federal Transit Administration saying that the ATU and MARTA were working together to fix the problems.”
‘That would have been a lie’ “Since that would have been a lie,” Howard wrote, “I rejected Mr. Parker’s request as too late, and a possible backdoor attempt at a safety cover-up. We have tried repeatedly to get MARTA to address these serious concerns. Sadly, we have been met with silence.” Parker acknowledged that more needed to be done to improve safety. However, because of recent attempts by state legislators to privatize MARTA, it may be difficult for the local to trust the agency enough to work with it on any joint endeavor.
Latrobe, PA Meanwhile members of Local 1738-Latrobe, PA, gathered at a Westmoreland County Transit Authority board meeting recently to complain about the pace of negotiations and safety and maintenance concerns. The issues have added to the difficulties the local has had in reaching a settlement with the authority.
| July/August 2013
Nearly 74% favor using tax dollars for increased investment in transportation
n increased majority of Americans favor expanding public transportation according to a new survey by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). The survey, “Americans’ Support for Public Transportation,” conducted by the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), shows that nearly 74% of respondents agreed to the use of their tax dollars to create, expand and improve public transportation in their community. This number increased from an already solid 69% of Americans in support in the 2012 survey.
Transit expands opportunity Eighty percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement that public transportation investment can help create jobs and pave the way to a stronger economy. However, public transportation scores its strongest support when discussing access to opportunities. When asked about the affordable transportation options for people, nearly 88% of respondents agreed that public transit expands opportunities and provides access to new jobs and careers as well as to medical care, schools, and colleges.
July/August 2013 | IN TRANSIT
Growing majority want Congress to spend more on transit The survey respondents also sent a strong message to Congress about their growing support for increased investment. Sixty-six percent of respondents believe Congress should increase spending on public transportation. Compared to last year’s survey, that registers as a five percent increase in support from a year ago.
Consistent results The survey results were very consistent with the growing support on the local level. In 2012, 49 out of 62 public transit ballot initiatives were passed which represents a nearly 80% passage rate. The research is also consistent with the growth in demand for public transportation. Americans took 10.5 billion trips on public transportation in 2012 – the second highest annual ridership since 1957. The entire report can be found at: http://bit.ly/13eLxBC
Is your state legislator a member of ALEC?
he American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC, has been behind almost all the anti-union, anti-worker, anti-family state laws that have been passed. Through these laws ALEC has diluted collective bargaining rights, made it harder for many Americans to vote, weakened public health and safety, and created major tax loopholes for big industries. ALEC has boasted that nearly 2,000 state legislators are members, but refuses to disclose their names. The Center for Media and Democracy, on their ALEC Exposed site (http://www.alecexposed.org), has a wiki listing nearly 1,000 legislators they believe to be ALEC members. In addition, they have created a map of the United States you can click on to find out if your representative is a member of ALEC. It’s time to expose those politicians who are hiding behind the cloak of ALEC. You can find the interactive map of ALEC legislators at: http://bit.ly/VXkGpp
| July/August 2013
Transportation for seniors ‘underfunded, underdeveloped’
very small number of ADA riders, who take, on average, very few trips each month.
These services are not meeting the needs of older travelers today and will, if unchanged, be even less beneficial in the future, according to the report.
For example: the state of Rhode Island, which operates all public transit there, spent almost 17% of its operating budget in 2011 on ADA services for just over three percent of its riders. The average elderly rider in Denver and Sarasota — the studied cities providing the most ADA service — took less than two round-trips each month.
ransportation services for older Americans are underfunded and underdeveloped, says the Urban Institute in “Roadblocks Ahead for Seniors Who Don’t Drive,” a recent study.
“Many people believe that services are in place to provide mobility for older people when they can no longer drive,” says the report, noting there will be 55 million people over the age of 65 by 2020. “Unfortunately, this is simply not true for the overwhelming majority of older Americans. Putting faith in that kind of future without doing anything to actually make it happen is just perpetrating another scam on the elderly.”
Many seniors can’t use paratransit Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) public transit operators must provide door-to-door paratransit services on demand to people with disabilities. But these services aren’t of much use to older Americans, because they are only for people with serious disabilities; must be offered only in threequarter-mile wide corridors parallel to existing bus routes, only during the hours those buses operate; and are so expensive that many transit operators are trying to provide only minimum services. Paratransit costs nationally rose 197%, to $3.5 billion, between 1999 and 2011. Ridership grew 49%, while the average one-way trip almost doubled from $17.39 in 1999, to $34.59 in 2011. In 10 locales the report reviewed, transit operators spend a disproportionate share of their budgets on a
July/August 2013 | IN TRANSIT
Paratransit service should be expanded Because one-third to two-thirds of all elderly people do not live or travel within the obligatory service corridors, the report recommends expanding paratransit services to areas where elderly people are living without them. It also calls for developing services for people not seriously disabled but facing mobility problems and delivering more appropriate public transit options while making it possible for older people to continue driving safely longer.
Commuters should not be penalized for choosing public transit M
illions of Americans who ride on our buses, subways and trains every day to work could see a tax increase at the beginning of next year while people who drive to work won’t. Ridiculous isn’t it?
How is this possible? The tax benefit that gives commuters who ride public transit the same tax break as those who drive, is set to expire on January 1, 2014, while the drivers’ benefit will remain. A bipartisan group of Members of Congress – Reps. Michael Grimm, R-NY; James McGovern, D-MA; Peter King, R-NY; and Earl Blumenauer, D-OR – recognized the absurdity of this and introduced legislation to provide permanent transit tax credit parity for all.
“With public transit ridership at record highs and fares increasing across the country, the millions of commuters who choose public transit should not be penalized with a tax increase while those who drive and park receive a tax break,” says International President Larry Hanley. “It just doesn’t make sense. When people take public transit, there are fewer cars stuck in traffic, decreased pollution, less dependence on foreign oil and it’s good for the economy.” Hanley praised the Members for introducing the bill and urged Congress to pass it. “We should be encouraging Americans to use public transit,” asserts Hanley. “We urge members of Congress to support this bill and bring tax parity to all commuters. It’s the right thing to do for our communities, our economy and our environment.”
International headquarters runs on clean energy
TU is doing its part to improve the environment by purchasing 10% of the energy used by international headquarters from wind-powered sources. This in addition to the implementation of other energy-saving technologies, lowered the Union’s monthly electric bill from almost $14,000 in July 2010, to less than $8,000 in July 2012; and from over $10,000 in March 2010, to under $6,000 in March 2013. As a result, ATU is saving almost $45,000 per year in energy costs. Clean Currents, a “green energy solutions” company, issued a “Certificate of Environmental Stewardship” to the Union, confirming that ATU is 10% wind powered. Each kilowatt-hour of wind energy offsets approximately 1.4 pounds of carbon dioxide – the main gas causing global warming. IN TRANSIT
| July/August 2013
New Transit Coalition Unites Against Washington DC Privatization
he safety, security and reliability of Washington, DC’s Metro bus and rail service has become suddenly at risk, as the DC government has now joined the ranks of cities considering privatization of some of its service. In response, Local 689, riders, and transit advocates have launched a new coalition – DC for Better Transit. The coalition is fighting proposals that would allow a foreign company to run bus lines currently operated by Metrobus. This company would operate the expansion of the free Circulator bus and a proposed streetcar line. Advocates will be hitting buses stops and Metro stations leafleting riders to educate them about the threats of privatization. The flyer asks passengers to “Join the fight to keep Metrobus public” and calls
on DC Mayor Vincent Grey “to keep non-regional lines out of the hands of private interests and keep the “public” in our public transportation system!”
Three Portland Stabbings Needed to Get Security
ocal 757-Portland, OR members have been complaining for months about the lack of safety at some of the restroom stops provided for TriMet drivers in parts of Southeast Portland, but it took three stabbings (since October) at one of the drivers’ portable toilets to convince the transit agency to place security guards there. In the latest attack, July 17, a TriMet driver was confronted as he left a break facility in the area. As he turned to walk away, the stranger reportedly stabbed him three times – twice in the stomach and once in chest – with a small utility knife, said Local President Bruce Hansen. “TriMet is immediately increasing security at both assault locations as well as elsewhere in that area,” a spokesperson said. But, the local says its had enough and that more must be done immediately to address this growing problem at
July/August 2013 | IN TRANSIT
these makeshift bathroom facilities including improving lighting, fixing broken locks, securing tipped over units and monitoring transients camping nearby. Local 757 adds that more must be done to protect bus operators across the entire system where assaults on bus drivers are increasing. The abuse has become so bad lately that drivers are afraid to work. “That’s not counting the verbal assaults that we receive everyday — the spittings, the physical altercations that may ensue,” says local President Bruce Hansen. The local would like to see bus drivers carry mace, which is currently not allowed on the job. Drivers also reportedly don’t receive any kind of training as far as selfdefense.
Retrospectiva y vista al futuro Cuando conseguí trabajo conduciendo un autobús hace 35 años, mis amigos y parientes, incluso mis vecinos me felicitaron a pesar de que ellos sabían lo difícil que era conducir un autobús en Nueva York. Dicho sea de paso... aún lo es, en Nueva York o en cualquier otro lugar. Todos estaban felices, porque conseguí un trabajo sindicalizado. En 1978, eso significaba salarios dignos y buenas prestaciones, seguridad en el trabajo, podría cuidar de mi familia cuando la tuviera, y me jubilaría llegado el momento. El transporte público era solo uno de los buenos empleos sindicalizados de entonces. Había buenos empleos en el sector manufacturero, en construcción, o como empleado de la municipalidad o del estado, en la compañía telefónica, y en la enseñanza. Todos eran buenos empleos sindicalizados con salarios dignos, buenas prestaciones y un futuro real. Al igual que la mayoría de nosotros, yo creía que si todos nuestros sindicatos se mantenían firmes en su labor y se encargaban de nuestros asuntos, saldríamos todos adelante y lograríamos tener una vida digna. Así que me dediqué a asegurarme de que mi sindicato, el ATU, se mantuviera firme en su labor.
Vista desde la cabina de mando Es 2013. No estoy mirando las cosas desde detrás del volante, sino desde la cabina de mando... como Presidente del Amalgamated Transit Union y como Vicepresidente de AFL-CIO. La realidad que veo no es buena para los trabajadores del transporte público ni para los trabajadores en las demás industrias. Desde el día que me contrataron, a la fecha, las directivas en todos los sectores de la industria han ido ganando terreno. Hoy en día, un empleo sindicalizado de tiempo completo no es garantía de una vida digna durante décadas por venir como solía serlo, y eso si es que puede encontrar alguno. No estamos avanzando, y si no hacemos algo cuanto antes, nuestros hijos quedarán incluso más atrás.
sindicales. Podemos continuar aferrados hasta que los sindicatos estén completamente derrotados y aplastados, o podemos ser los que le demos vuelta a la situación. Podemos albergar esperanzas de que algunas de nuestras ciudades sean las últimas en privatizar el transporte público o ubicarnos justo en el centro de un movimiento popular que proteja y amplíe el transporte público masivo. Creo que un presidente de local de ATU lo dijo exactamente en una reunión reciente. “Si no detenemos los ataques contra la clase obrera ya no tendremos más contratos para negociar”. Esto es lo que he aprendido. Ningún sindicato es lo suficientemente fuerte como para ocuparse de todos los asuntos por sí mismo. Ni siquiera pueden hacerlo todos los sindicatos mancomunadamente. Sencillamente, no hay un número suficiente de nosotros. Pero, si todas las personas que necesitan y merecen una vida digna se unen, podremos ser lo suficientemente fuertes. Hoy en día, los sindicatos son los únicos que son suficientemente fuertes para unir a todas esas voces poderosas.
¿Quién decidirá? Una cosa más. Hacer las cosas como siempre lo hemos hecho nos dará los resultados que siempre hemos obtenido. En 2013 eso no es suficientemente bueno. Los trabajadores de los Estados Unidos y Canadá están en problemas. Alguien va a decidir qué significará tener un trabajo en el futuro, cómo será la jubilación, qué tipo de educación recibirán nuestros hijos, y a qué clase de vida podrán aspirar. Ya sea los ricos y poderosos o bien las personas trabajadoras lo decidirán. Uno o el otro. Nuestros sindicatos tienen que ser el centro fuerte de organización para lograr una vida digna para cada hombre, mujer y niño en Norteamérica. ATU deberá estar ahí. De eso tratará la Convención de 2013.
Solo veo dos opciones para mi generación de dirigentes IN TRANSIT
| July/August 2013
La Convención brinda oportunidades de solidaridad y acción A finales del mes de agosto los delegados de la mayoría de nuestros locales se reunirán de todas partes de Canadá y los Estados Unidos para participar en la 57ª Convención Internacional de San Diego, CA, y la mayoría de ustedes tendrán por lo menos un delegado que les representará en la reunión. Sin embargo, es más que probable que, dado que la mayoría de los miembros no asisten a las reuniones del sindicato local, usted quizá no sepa quiénes son los delegados, y quizá ni le interese. De alguna manera, eso es entendible. La gran mayoría de nuestros miembros, quizá nunca vaya a una Convención, y quizá le resulte difícil emocionarse con un evento que parece que no tiene nada que ver con ellos. Pero ahí es donde están equivocados. Los temas debatidos y las decisiones que se toman en las Convenciones son de vital importancia para cada uno de nosotros en este Sindicato.
Reorganización En esta Convención, estaremos hablando sobre un plan de reorganización del Sindicato, el cual creemos que hará que su local sea más eficaz al representarle a usted ante su empleador. Por primera vez, se ofrecerá capacitación en la Convención que creemos que mejorará las habilidades que sus funcionarios utilizan para representarles. Aprobaremos resoluciones que afectarán los pasos que el Sindicato tome en el futuro. Todas estas cosas afectan a la organización que lucha por los salarios y beneficios de ustedes cada día.
¿Por qué es eso importante? Eso debiera ser importante para todos nosotros, porque, para ser totalmente sincero, si mañana los sindicatos desaparecieran, no pasaría mucho tiempo antes de que la mayoría de los trabajadores del transporte público estuvieran trabajando por un salario mínimo o menos.
July/August 2013 | IN TRANSIT
Sé que a muchos de los miembros les parecerá difícil de creer, pero eso es porque ellos no se han mantenido al tanto de las noticias acerca de su Sindicato y el movimiento obrero. Insto a todos y cada uno de ustedes para que visiten diariamente el sitio Web de la Convención de ATU durante la semana de la Convención. Creo que será para ustedes una experiencia reveladora, y tal vez les ayude a motivarse un poco más para participar en esta gran empresa llamada Amalgamated Transit Union. La fortaleza del Sindicato depende únicamente de la fortaleza de sus miembros. Necesitamos su ayuda para fortalecer el Sindicato con su voz y con su participación. No hay nada que no se pueda lograr si todos actuamos juntos, en solidaridad.
Y MUCHO MÁS Los delegados a la 57ª Convención Internacional asistirán a talleres, para revisar un importante plan de reestructuración El Sindicato Amalgamated Transit celebrará su Convención Internacional de 2013 en el Hotel Hilton San Diego Bayfront del 26 al 30 de agosto en California. El tema de la Convención, – So Much More – (Y mucho más), refleja la convicción de ATU de que no obstante que el Sindicato ha logrado mucho en los últimos tres años, apenas hemos comenzado a aprovechar plenamente el potencial de nuestro sindicato internacional. Esta será solo la 57a vez en nuestros 121 años de historia que delegados de todo el Sindicato se reunirán para analizar temas de gran importancia para ATU.
Convenios por mandato de la Constitución de ATU De conformidad con la Constitución y la Legislación General de ATU se debe celebrar una “Convención General” de ATU cada tres años. Las normas que rigen
la elección de los delegados y el número de delegados según el tamaño permitido para cada local están expresadas en la Constitución. La asamblea de delegados revisará los éxitos obtenidos por ATU en los últimos tres años, incluyendo nuestros esfuerzos para desarrollar coaliciones con nuestros usuarios pasajeros; nuestra campaña electoral sin precedentes de 2012; la campaña de ATU para luchar contra las agresiones a trabajadores del transporte público y el tema de los recesos para usar el baño; nuestra campaña para el Fondo de Ayuda en Caso de Desastres para ayudar a los miembros damnificados por el Huracán Sandy, inundaciones y otros desastres naturales; y mucho más. Los delegados también escucharán a oradores importantes, referirse a los retos que enfrentan los trabajadores no especializados y del transporte público, considerar las resoluciones, elegir funcionarios internacionales, y votar por un plan de reestructuración del Sindicato para atender mejor las necesidades de sus miembros en el Siglo XXI.
de capacitación en la Convención durante toda la semana para transmitir a los delegados los conocimientos necesarios para liberar todo el potencial de sus sindicatos locales.
Sesiones únicas de capacitación Estos cursos únicos de formación abarcarán una amplia gama de aspectos y temas para lograr que los delegados y otros participantes mejoren sus aptitudes de liderazgo y administración, les proporcionará información sobre asuntos de importancia fundamental y cómo mejorar la capacidad de nuestros funcionarios y miembros para responder ante los nuevos desafíos que enfrenta nuestro Sindicato, nuestros locales y nuestros miembros. Los Miembros pueden dar seguimiento a las reuniones y debates a través de actualizaciones que se publicarán durante toda la semana en el sitio Web de la Convención en http://www.atuconvention2013.com
La Convención Internacional también planea aprovechar esta oportunidad histórica, ofreciendo por primera vez en eventos de su clase talleres académicos
For the latest ATU News and Action Alerts please check out the ATU’s social media network Facebook: facebook.com/ATUInternational
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In Memoriam Death Benefits Awarded May 1, 2013 - June 30, 2013 1- MEMBERS AT LARGE GERALD HOWARD CLAYTON THOMAS GUCKIAN FRANK E HUFFORD AMOS C MYERS JR EUGENE ELLIOTTE SMITH JAMES R STOUT ROBERT H STURROCK 26- DETROIT, MI RONALD BROWN PERCY LEMO JOHNSON VERNEL L LITTLE JOHN HOWARD WARREN 85- PITTSBURGH, PA WALTER B AUSTIN THOMAS L FULMER DARRELL R GRIMM WILLIAM T HIRSCHFIELD FRANK MASQUELIER BESSIE MATHEWS JOHN A VICE JAY N WEINBERG 107- HAMILTON, ON MICHAEL HORVATH ANGUS MAC LENNAN WILLIAM MELIA ANTHONY PAYNE DONALD E SWACKHAMMER ELLIS W WADDELL 113- TORONTO, ON JAMES A ARSENAULT TIBERIO CERQUA KELLY CHEUNG MIKE HAWRYLKO FREEMAN R HOLMES NAZIR JAMAL ROBERT A JENSEN GEORGE LEONARD LAIRD LEONARD WILL LAWRENCE WILLIAM MAKEMSON HOWARD M NICHOLSON GERALD PETERS WALTER PYLYP MICHAEL SISKO STANLEY M TAKOFF GIUSEPPE VETRO 164- WILKES-BARRE, PA RICHARD K BOBACK 192- OAKLAND, CA BUTLER BROWN JR RITA G DORTON ALPHONSO PARIS PEGGY A STINGLEY HAROLD WASHINGTON II 241- CHICAGO, IL THOMAS P BARRY MARY DAVIS BEVERLY A DORTCH CORNELIUS GILLESPIE JULIO LEYVA GUILFORD N MOORE LUTHER L NEWBURN ALFONSO PARRILLO
256- SACRAMENTO, CA DAWN L ERICKSON 265- SAN JOSE, CA RAUL APOSTOL ROSARIO ENRIQUEZ GIL HIRSCH JAMES M JENNINGS CAROL L MARSH WILLIAM E PRITCHARD 268- CLEVELAND, OH ELEANOR J GORMAN JOSEPH TARABA CARL E TAYLOR RUSSELL C VAN HORN ANDREW H ZELINKO 279- OTTAWA, ON CLAUDE R PARENT 282- ROCHESTER, NY GERALD J CASSERINO 308- CHICAGO, IL FREDDIE B BAILEY JR ALFRED BERRY HELEN B EDWARDS ALFRED J O’NEIL CHARLIE J PRICE 382- SALT LAKE CITY, UT WILLARD G GRISMORE 425- HARTFORD, CT ALVIN WALKER 448- SPRINGFIELD, MA JEAN WHEELER 517- GARY, IN LOUIS M MC CLAIN 569- EDMONTON, AB JAMES ISAAC KAULBACK TERRY W SCOTT 582- ROME, NY HENRY J LEE 583- CALGARY, AB WILLIAM P BROOKS ARTHUR J FISHER SING TUNG B POON 587- SEATTLE, WA DEBORAH A BAYTOS ALLEN L GENTRY JR ROGER F HUSEMAN DAVID T LOWE MALCOLM RICKERT KEITH G ROSS MARJORIE E VINSON 589- BOSTON, MA HENRY L ALLEN ARTHUR W BERNIER PETER J BRUNO FREDERICK W BURT III STEPHEN J GRAHAM
MICHAEL J LYDON JR MICHAEL NAUGHTON PAUL D SOMONTES ROLAND H STUBBS FRANCIS M TOOMEY FREDRICK TURNER JR 628- COVINGTON, KY WALTER CAIN 689- WASHINGTON, DC JOHN WILLIAM BRYAN DANIEL S BURROUGHS MICHAEL G FITZGERALD ALBERT M FORMANDO CHARLES GILCHRIST JR JAMES A GRAHAM RULE A HAGA FRANCIS J KEIFER WILLIAM D KENDRICKS BERNICE M MC MURTREY DAVID MICIJA LEONARD ELI MIKESELL JOSEPH JULIUS PITTS LEONARD RICHARDSON GEORGE H TWILLEY MORRIS WALTER VAUGHAN 694- SAN ANTONIO, TX JOE FALCON GARCIA RUBEN VILLALOBOS 713- MEMPHIS, TN CHANTEL L SANDERS 726- STATEN ISLAND, NY SALVATORE BONFIGLIO DONALD S FERRARA VINCENT MECCA FREDERICK MORIO FRANK PARISI RICHARD ZIMMERMAN 732- ATLANTA, GA JOHNNY L BEACHEM JOHN W BROWN CHARLES VIRLYN MOSS JEFFERY PETTIGREW JASPER SMITH CHARLES N TAYLOR 757- PORTLAND, OR GORDON D GARRETT LE GRANDE A JACKSON ELONA M OTTERBEIN 758- TACOMA, WA DANIEL A SCIACQUA 765- MONTGOMERY, AL ISAAC BUTLER 779- SIOUX CITY, IA SHARON PARIS KENNETH R PETERS 788- ST. LOUIS, MO RICHARD L HALL JIMMIE L JACKSON HULAN JORDAN
July/August 2013 | IN TRANSIT
TALMADGE L SEBASTIAN MARION G SMITH NORMAN E WISELY 819- NEWARK, NJ EILEEN DELUISI MICHAEL PALERMO LEONARD RIPA LOUIS RIPA DIETER STELLJES 820- UNION CITY, NJ JAMES A MOONEY 842- WILMINGTON, DE ELLWOOD P WAY JR 846- ST. CATHARINES, ON WAYNE RAWSTHORNE 880- CAMDEN, NJ DONALD V ANDERSON HARRY M BOLITSKI THOMAS O PRATT JULIA SIMONIN 998- MILWAUKEE, WI STEVEN F ADAMS WILLIE L FRAZIER JR EFFIE JONES JOSEPH R MROZEK MICHAEL D NUGENT MARVIN C POHL 1001- DENVER, CO MICHAEL BYARS 1005- MINNEAPOLIS & ST. PAUL, MN JUAN ARROYO RONALD J KNOPIK LEONARD J UHERKA 1179- NEW YORK, NY JOSEPH O’NEILL 1181- NEW YORK, NY ROBERT W ANGRISANI ROSE T BAKUNCZYK VICTOR A BEAULIEU HELEN BRAZAUSKAS EDWARD D’ALESSANDRO DONNA A GARBRECHT PATRICK MASSELLA LOUIS MAZZEI CONSTANCE MILITANO RONALD PEDRETTI VIOLA M REILLY ERIN SCHIFF FRANK SPINELLI
SEAN D JONES JAMES MICHAEL RENO 1300- BALTIMORE, MD ERNEST A ROYAL 1309- SAN DIEGO, CA RICHARD M CONNORS 1333- ROCKFORD, IL LEONARD L LONG 1342- BUFFALO, NY STEVENP MAJETIC FRANK A SCHUMAN JR LEONARD SZYMANSKI 1374- CALGARY, AB CLIFFORD ALLAN MOORE STANLEY E STICKLAND KELLY G WADDELL 1415- TORONTO, ON VINCE MC GOEY LEONARD H TAYLOR 1433- PHOENIX, AZ DAVID ZILVERSMIT 1505- WINNIPEG, MB GORDON ASHCROFT ROY ALBERT COLLINS ALLAN GAYOWAY DAVID W HENRY 1555- OAKLAND, CA LAMBERT SMITH 1564- DETROIT, MI ROSE M WEGNER 1575- SAN RAFAEL, CA FRANK G RUSS 1587- TORONTO, ON ANDREW ANISKO WILLIAM T OSBORNE VINCENZO ZAMBRI 1700- CHICAGO, IL BOBBY R CLEVENGER ALBERT B HENSON EUGENE WALKER 1729- PITTSBURGH, PA CHARLES HARTMAN JOHN MULLIN 1738- LATROBE, PA GEORGE H RYLANDER
1225- SAN FRANCISCO, CA GEORGE F KAMP
1756- ARCADIA, CA ANTONIO E SANCHEZ
1235- NASHVILLE, TN MELVIN STAGGS HERMAN L WINTERS
1765- OLYMPIA, WA JAMES C CRISP
1277- LOS ANGELES, CA EUSTACE A GIROD
Brother Ivan Gayvoronskie Local 1576-Everett, WA
ne very cold and foggy day last January in Everett, WA, Sound Transit bus operator Ivan Gayvoronskie was on his usual route driving commuters to Seattle when he noticed smoke coming from the back of his bus. Recognizing the danger, Ivan calmly and quickly pulled his bus over to a safe location and immediately evacuated the 70 passengers in an orderly fashion. One was in a wheelchair so Ivan recruited a couple passengers to help her off the bus. About 30 seconds later the back of the bus exploded in flames, The cold weather had caused the water in the brake lines to freeze and make the engine overheat which caused the tires to explode into flames. If it wasn’t for Ivan keeping a cool head and acting quickly many of his passengers could have been severely burned or even killed. One of the passengers praised Ivan, “That bus driver deserves some sort of recognition, because if
he hadn’t handled the situation the way he had, it would have been a lot worse.” We at ATU salute Brother Gayvoronskie for his heroism and quick action on the job.
Helping ATU Locals Harness the Power of the Internet for FREE ATU has launched a new service, TransitWeb, to set up a free state-of-the-art website for local unions. This new innovative program includes: EASE OF USE User-friendly rich features, varied design template options, and ease of use for updates and changes. FRESH CONTENT Easily update your website with fresh content, photos and even videos. SUPPORT Free training to learn how to easily update and maintain your website. NO COST TransitWeb is a FREE program for all local unions, the full cost is covered by ATU International. FLEXIBILITY TransitWeb has been developed for ATU local unions. We’ll help you make your website fit your needs. To get your website up and running today contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. IN TRANSIT
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Amalgamated Transit Union
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THE 57TH INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION IS ONLINE! We have launched a website for the ATU’s 57th International Convention in San Diego, CA, August 26-30, 2013. The site will contain all the news and information on developments at the ATU Convention. Check it out!