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60th Convention Daily Proceedings - Day Three

Day Three Recap of the
60th International Convention

ATU International Convention Reconvenes for Day Three

The 60th International Convention of the Amalgamated Transit Union reconvened on Wednesday, September 21, at 8:38 a.m.

International President John Costa got the day off to a rousing start with “Don’t Play With My Money” music video from the Local 689-Washington, DC, successful Cinder Bed strike that became a viral hit. Costa lead a resounding convention chant asking  delegates “Who moves this city” who responded “We move this city”.

International President Costa brought Cantor Jessica Hutchings from Congregation Ner Tamid to the stage to give the invocation to start the Convention. “The work of this organization is to make sure all who dwell are protected, cared for, and treated justly,” said Hutchings.  “Together, a sanctuary of peace is built. We are a living virtue. As we work together this week, let it not be as individuals but as a team. May we derive strength and wisdom from one another. The process of learning is as endless of time itself.”

Attendees then watched a video highlighting the successful campaigns the ATU has waged over the last three years across the U.S. and Canada.


‘You Move the World’

Costa then introduced Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), a global union federation of 665 trade unions representing 20 million workers in 147 countries in the seafaring, port, road, rail, and aviation sectors. “We all know in the labor movement an injury to one is an injury to all.  Brothers and Sisters, you move the world.  You move the city, and you ensure through the darkest times, we can keep our cities and our societies going.  We saw that through the pandemic.”  His speech was followed by the Report of the Credentials Committee, which was adopted delegates by a voice vote.


‘Pursuit of Happiness’

International Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kirk then introduced Reverend Terry Melvin, President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU). “We need the ability to elect who represents us. We need a country that lives up to its founding creed that says we hold these truths to be self‑evident. That all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  I want the pursuit of happiness. I want all of my people in this country to have the pursuit of happiness. So we have to join together because when we join together, we win.”

After Melvin’s moving speech, attendees watched a video highlighting ATU’s apprenticeship work and then heard the Reports of the International President and GEB Reports Committee, School Bus Committee, and the Over the Road Committee. The committee reports were all adopted by delegates by a voice vote.

To view the Convention Day Three photo gallery, click on the photo below: 

‘Our Economy Depends on You’

The next speaker introduced by International President Costa was a good friend of the ATU and union card-carrying member, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, who praised ATU members for the work they do. “You work tough schedules.  You deal with health risks.  You even face violence on the job, yet your members show up every single day to serve and protect and move their communities forward. And our economy depends on every one of you in this room and all of your members.  So instead of attacking their rights, we should be defending their rights.  Instead of cutting their benefits, we should be expanding benefits, especially coming out of a pandemic. You put your members put your lives on the line every single day.”

Next, the Laws Committee made their report. After engaging debate from delegates on a number of resolutions, the Committee’s report was adopted by voice vote.


‘You Continue to Show Up’

Next, the ATU gave a warm welcome to Ed Kelly, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), who spoke about the heroism of our members during tragedies like 9/11. “We did what we always do.  We step up, just like the ATU and the IAFF did 21 years ago when our nation was attacked on 9/11.  I'm proud to call the 344 IAFF members who made the ultimate sacrifice my brothers.  But I'm also proud to call the ATU members, who played a critical role in evacuating lower Manhattan, including injured people, my brothers, and sisters, too. You showed the best of what the labor movement, of what people are.  You continue to show up every single day and serve your communities.  You are the backbone of the cities and towns and neighborhoods across the United States and Canada.”


Remembering Our Fallen

Next was a moving, emotional tribute to our fallen members, including deceased International Officers, our Local 265-San Jose, CA, brothers, and our 220 members lost to COVID.

A lone bagpiper played as photos of deceased International Officers scrolled across the screen. Then a video played featuring photos of our Local 265 members with moving string quartet, followed by Local President John Courtney coming up to speak about our fallen brothers. “On May 26th, our community, our local and union suffered one of the darkest days in our history after the deadly shooting at our rail yard that ultimately took the lives of ten of our brothers…I knew each and every one of our brothers and each and every one were incredible people, and all were very dear to all of our hearts.  They were our friends, our heroes, our colleagues and, most importantly, they were family.”

The last section was a video saluting our 220 members lost to the COVID pandemic. The ceremony featured a bag piper, a strings quartet, and a choir who sang Charlie Puth’s “See You Again”. International President Costa made closing remarks saying “On behalf of our 200,000 members, we are here to honor our fallen and offer condolences to the families and all of those impacted by COVID‑19 and the tragic shooting that took place on May 26, 2021.  Your courage and your grace after such a loss has been inspiring… There's nothing more I can do or say that can replace the need to have our loved ones back in our lives, but it is our commitment as we remember the dead, we will continue to fight like hell for the living.”

Convention was then adjourned until 8:30 a.m., Thursday, September 22, 2022.