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Exciting and packed day one at the 2024 ATU Legislative Conference in Washington, DC

It was an exciting and packed day one at the 2024 ATU Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, International President John Costa welcomed the more than 170 Local officers from across the U.S. and members of the General Executive Board.
“Welcome to our more than 170 Local leaders. This is our biggest Legislative Conference in our Union’s history. We have a huge election this fall, the most important one ever,” said Costa. “When I first started coming to this conference, only Local members who gave to COPE were invited. I changed that last year since we need to educate all our Local leaders about the importance of political action and COPE. As you are going to hear over the next three days, we’ve got major issues going on. Over the past year our Union has had great success with funding and safety. That’s because we have a President who is a true friend of the ATU. We’ve achieved a lot together with this Administration. But that can all change in November unless we come together with a plan and protect what we’ve got.”
The first speaker was Interim U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su, who applauded the leadership of Costa, International Executive Vice President Yvette Trujillo, International Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kirk, and our Locals for organizing workers across the country, our innovative apprenticeship programs, and winning safety protections for our members. Attendees also heard a moving speech by AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond, who spoke about how our Union is a model for the labor movement and the importance of mobilizing our members to re-elect Joe Biden, the most pro-union President in history.
One of the highlights of the day was a presentation on State Legislative issues featuring Local leaders talking about the challenges and successes in pushing for pro-transit and pro-union initiatives and legislation in their states.
Next Costa presented the 2024 Political Activism awards to those Locals going above and beyond for political action in their states. The winners were Local 1447-Louisville, KY, PBA Lillian Brents, ATU Pennsylvania Joint Conference Board Members Steve Matassa and Lionel Randolph, Local 689-Washington, DC, PBA Raymond Jackson, Local 1300-Baltimore, MD, PBA Mike McMillan, ATU California Conference Board President Jeff Shaffer and members, ATU Louisiana Legislative Conference Board President George DeCuir, Secretary-Treasurer Janice Calton and members, Local 714-Portland, ME, PBA Joe Thomas, Local 1764-Washington, DC, Raenelle Cole, Local 1433-Phoenix, AZ, PBA Bob Bean, Local 382-Salt Lake, UT, PBA Rod Dunn, Local 1001-Denver, CO, PBA Lance Logenbohn, ATU New Jersey State Council Chair Orlando Riley, ATU Florida State Legislative Conference Board President Steve Simon and members, and Local 589 Boston Carmen’s Union PBA Jimmy Evers.
Attendees also heard informative presentations on federal legislation, the Bus of the Future, Health and Safety Regulatory Updates including the recent FTA Final Rule on Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans (PTASPs), and other issues. In addition, there was a presentation on Transit Worker Assaults including breakout sessions where our Locals spoke out about their firsthand accounts of attacks and violence against our members.
To wrap up the day, Costa recognized Pride Month and the work of our ATU International Pride Caucus to promote our Union’s diversity and treatment of all people regardless of their gender or who they love.