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60th Convention Daily Proceedings - Day Two

Day Two Recap of the
60th International Convention

ATU International Convention Reconvenes for Day Two

The 60th International Convention of the Amalgamated Transit Union reconvened on Tuesday, September 20, at 8:38 a.m.

Day Two of the Convention began with International President John Costa bringing Imam Fateen Seifullah from Masji As-Sabur on stage to give the invocation to start the Convention. “We ask you to bless this gathering, strengthen this union, bless everyone in this place, bless their families, bless the workers… Join our hearts together, make us one.”

The invocation was followed by the Reports of the Credentials Committee and the Appeals Committee which were adopted by voice vote.


New Jersey Strong

Next International President John Costa invited good friend and President of the New Jersey AFL-CIO Charlie Wowkanech to the stage who praised Costa and the ATU for the work done on behalf of the labor movement and talked about what they’re doing in New Jersey to protect ATU members. “In New Jersey we saw that our transportation people in the public sector on trains and buses were starting to be assaulted, and John had called me and said, Charlie, we need to do something. So what did we do? We sponsored a piece of legislation that made it a third degree aggravated assault. If you are convicted of assaulting a bus driver, it carries a sentence of three to five years in jail and a $15,000 fine.  Now, how is that.  There you go.  We are not going to stand for that.  Lock em up.

Wowkanech’s speech was followed by the Reports of the Next Generation Committee, the Maintenance New Technology and Workforce Development Committee, and the Paratransit Committee were presented to the convention and were unanimously adopted by the delegates by a voice vote.


Union Power

International President Costa then brought ATU Canada President John Di Nino on stage to introduce Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, the second woman to hold a position representing over 3 million workers in Canada. “It is absolutely up to us to grow our union density to grow our movement.  And it's also time to turn our dues paying members into committed activists because we know that when we gain union density, we gain more power.  When our members numbers grow, we grow our influence.  And when our members, our existing members, become engaged, we can shape the direction of our countries and that is how we can build a new economic and social model with workers at its core.  And it's how we can create a more equitable inclusive and sustainable future for everyone.”

Bruske’s rousing speech was followed by the Operations Workforce Development Committee and the International Secretary-Treasurer’s Report Committee made their reports to the convention which were unanimously adopted by the delegates by a voice vote.

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

Essential Workers

Next, International Executive Vice President Javier Perez introduced Teresa Romero, President of the United Farm Workers (UFW) and the only immigrant Latina President of a national union. “And as essential workers that you are and as essential workers that farm workers are, I thank you for your sacrifice.  I thank you for your hard work. I thank you for your support for farm workers,” Romero told attendees after asking for their support of Assemble Bill 2183 in California which would give farm workers the right to unionize.


Todos Unidos

After Teresa’s moving speech, International President Costa introduced another powerhouse Latina, Yanira Merino, President of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and the first undocumented woman to lead the organization. “Latinas continue to be the largest group with the largest wage gap in this country.  We have to offer our solidarity. We have to welcome them with open arms to our movement, as we fight together to make sure that all workers, regardless of their immigration status or genders, have the same opportunity to join the unions to build a better future.”

After Yanira’s speech, the Reports of the Operations Workforce Development Committee and the International Secretary-Treasurer were presented to the convention and adopted by the delegates by a voice vote.

The day ended with a group panoramic photo of all the delegates.

Convention was then adjourned until 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, September 21, 2022.