Public transportation is a human right, ATU pledges support & action
Media Contact: David Roscow, 202-487-4990
Washington, DC – Acknowledging their mutual concern about the crisis in mass transit, the General Executive Board of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) has endorsed the National Day of Action for Public Transportation called by Occupy Boston to take place, April 4, in cities all over America.
“Public transportation is a human right and critical to our nation’s economic recovery,” said ATU International President Larry Hanley. “We need to be clear that the mass transit crisis was caused in no small part by the diversion of billions of tax dollars to war and the corporations that benefit from war. And this has lead to service cuts, transit worker layoffs, and higher passenger fares which are really just another kind of tax, levied on those who can least afford it.”
“The ATU pledges our support for the Occupy National Day of Action for Public Transportation and our members will be involved in events and actions in Boston and across the country,” Hanley continued. “It’s the bankers and brokers – the 1% - who control the money for public transportation. It was their greed and corruption that brought our nation’s economy to its knees and destroyed America’s middle class. It’s time for our nation to invest in mass transit and improve the lives of the 99%, not pad the pockets of the 1%.”
Commenting on Occupy Boston’s plans, Hanley noted, “It is so appropriate that the National Day of Action for Public Transportation take place on the anniversaries of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s April 4, 1967 speech, ‘Beyond Vietnam: Breaking the Silence,’ because this crisis is about the toll and resources these wars have taken on working people and their families.”
The ATU has long believed that mass transit is an essential part of forging a sustainable future for our nation and that privatization of public transportation only leads to diminished service.
“Occupy understands that the transit system that took a century to build is threatened by the 1% who want all of the financial benefits, but none of the financial responsibilities of a civilized society,” Hanley continued. “It’s time for the 99% to demand that all Americans pay their fare share so that the U.S. can maintain the mobility which has been one of the hallmarks of its remarkable success, and changes must be made so that everyone has an equal opportunity to take part in that success.”
About the ATU
The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1892, the ATU today is comprised of over 190,000 members in 264 local unions spread across 44 states and nine provinces, including 3,000 workers at Greyhound Lines, Inc. Composed of bus drivers, light rail operators, maintenance and clerical personnel and other transit and municipal employees, the ATU works to promote transit issues and fights for the interests of its hard-working members.