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On the Road - International President Costa Visits Locals in Louisiana, Ohio, and California

From Baton Rouge to New Orleans in Louisiana, Toledo, OH to Riverside, CA, International President John Costa, International Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kirk, and members of the General Executive Board (GEB) have been on the road meeting with our Locals and our members to thank them for their commitment and dedication to our Union and their communities over the past few challenging years.  


Louisiana State Legislative Board Meets

The first stop was Baton Rouge, LA, where the ATU Louisiana State Legislative Board brought Locals from across Louisiana and Alabama to meet and discuss important union, political and legislative issues impacting our members and Locals.

Costa addressed the board about the challenges of the past two years of the pandemic, contract fights our Locals are waging, and the ATU’s growing innovative apprenticeship programs. He and Kirk then spoke about the importance of elections, the ATU-COPE program, and political action, pointing to the ATU helping to secure the Bipartisan Infrastructure law and the important upcoming mid-term elections. Also in attendance was International Vice President Yvette Trujillo.

Costa also installed Board officers, who were elected at the meeting. The new officers are Chair Carlos Westley (Local 1535-Harahan, LA), Vice-Chair George DeCuir (Local 1546-Baton Rouge, LA), and Secretary-Treasurer Janice Calton (Local 558-Shreveport, LA).


Visit to Local 1560-New Orleans, LA after Tornado hits

In the wake of the devastating tornado in New Orleans in late March, Costa, Kirk, and some members of the General Executive Board visited Local 1560’s new Union Hall with new Local President Kory Dupree and other officers to check on the safety of our brothers and sisters.

Unfortunately, some of our members’ homes and property were destroyed by these destructive and dangerous tornadoes. Costa offered assistance and also talked about the resources the International can provide the Local in fighting for the rights and dignity of our members.


Firing up Local 697-Toledo, OH members on an informational picket

Next up was a visit to Toledo for the Ohio Joint Conference Board. Prior to that meeting, Costa, Kirk, and International Vice Presidents Yvette Trujillo and Natalie Cruz visited members of Local 697-Toledo, OH, at TARTA’s main garage and the city’s central transit hub to thank them for keeping the city of Toledo moving in these difficult times. They also had the opportunity to speak with our Local members about their issues and how the International can provide help. Afterward, Costa, Kirk, the IVPs, and ATU Ohio Local leaders fired up members of Local 697 on an informational picket line in their fight for a fair and just contract, including preserving their health care. The Local members solidarity paid off as they have since secured a strong contract.

At the Ohio Joint Conference Board, Costa talked about the high stakes mid-terms pointing to the ATU’s early endorsement of President Biden in helping to secure COVID relief funding and the Bipartisan Infrastructure law that provides historic funding to boost transit service and critical worker safety protections for our members on the job.

Kirk spoke about the importance of the contributions to ATU-COPE. Also in attendance were International Vice Presidents Gary Johnson, Yvette Trujillo, and Natalie Cruz. Speakers at the meeting included numerous elected officials and candidates running for office across the state, including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH) running for Senate, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley running for Ohio Governor, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley running for Ohio Governor, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga, and many others.

Costa also installed the elected officers of the Board, Chair Troy Miller (Local 627-Cincinnati, OH), Vice-Chair Tenessa Willis (Local 272-Youngstown, OH), and Financial Secretary Carly Allen (Local 697-Toledo, OH).


Costa attends Shop Stewards Training in Riverside, CA

Later in April, Costa traveled to Riverside, CA, to attend a Shop Steward training with more than 40 Local Shop Stewards from across Southern California, including Local 1309-San Diego, 1277-Los Angeles, 1704-San Bernardino, and 1756-Arcadia. Costa thanked the attendees for their leadership, commitment, and dedication to our Locals. He led a lively discussion with the attendees and talked about his experiences as a Shop Steward for Local 819-Newark, NJ. International Vice President Jim Lindsay and Local 1277 President and California Conference Board Chair Art Aguilar joined Costa for the training. Throughout the training, stewards learned critical skills for their positions, including the role of Shop Stewards in their Locals, their responsibilities, grievance handling and procedures, and more.