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In-Person Training is Back at the ATU

ATU, under the leadership of International President John Costa, has been committed to empowering rank and file members through education and training programs that teach the skills, strategies, and tactics to win at the bargaining table, in public campaigns, and in the halls of government.

Our training programs teach our Local leaders and our members how to fight for dignity and justice on the job and in our communities by educating members about their rights at work and how to resist employer attacks on wages, benefits, and working conditions.

During the pandemic, our Union quickly pivoted to Zoom so we could continue to conduct these important trainings despite the lockdowns across North America. Recognizing changes and issues impacting our society and industry, we even expanded our training programs to include courses on Women’s Equity, Race and Labor, Zero Emission Buses, and other topics. 

With our countries coming out of the pandemic, our Union has returned to in-person training and education programs across the United States and Canada for officers and rank and file members alike. We may continue some trainings by Zoom, which offer flexibility and convenience.

What is clear is that these programs are a vital step in engaging our membership and galvanizing our riders and allies into a potent political force that will impact local and national campaigns.


New Officers Meet for Weeklong Training

In March, more than 65 Local Presidents/Business Agents and Financial-Secretaries from across our Union attended the first in-person ATU New Officers’ training since the pandemic. At this innovative training held in Washington, DC, attendees learned new strategies to strengthen their Locals and empower their members to get involved and prepare for the battles ahead.

International President John Costa addressed the Local officers about their important role, the challenges they face, and the critical skills they learned throughout the week to build the necessary foundation to best serve their Locals, their members, and our Union.

“It’s great to be back in person for this training and interact with and learn from your fellow Local officers,” said Costa. “I’ve been in your shoes as President of my Local 819 and know the difficult job you have as Local officers. Thank you for all you do, and please know the International is here to support you.”

Over the week, the Local leaders heard from experts and staff on a wide variety of topics to effectively run their Locals from finances, legal issues, and communications. Also in attendance at the training were International Executive Vice President Yvette Trujillo and International Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kirk.


Stewards Trainings

Shop Stewards play an essential role in building solidarity and protecting the rights and interests of our members. Shop Steward training introduces stewards to their duties and responsibilities and discusses the various roles of stewards, including leader, organizer, educator, and communicator. This training teaches participants the basic steps in the grievance handling process and gives them techniques for investigating, writing, and presenting grievances.

The training also considers tests for discipline and contract interpretation principles that stewards should consider when handling grievances. Finally, participants are taught about their rights under the law, including access to certain information and mandatory subjects of bargaining.


West Palm Beach, FL, Stewards Training

International President Costa surprised attendees at a Shop Steward training in West Palm Beach, FL, that included Stewards from Local 1577-West Palm Beach, FL, and Local 1267-Fort Lauderdale, FL. Costa led a lively discussion with the attendees and talked about
his experiences as a Shop Steward for Local 819-Newark, NJ. He also discussed the recent attack on labor unions in the state, Senate Bill 256 that was passed, and how our Union plans to deal with this anti-union law.

Local 1577 President/Business Agent Dwight Mattingly and Vice President Joey Acevedo then took Costa for a tour of the Palm Tran facility as well as at the West Palm Beach Intermodal Station, where he met with operators and members in the maintenance department to hear about their issues on the job and how the Union can help them. It was a great day meeting with members at the training and on the job.


Atlantic City, NJ, Stewards Training

Then in Atlantic City, NJ, more than 150 Local Shop Stewards from across the states of New York, New Jersey, and Delaware took part in one of the largest ATU Shop Stewards training ever held. International President Costa again thanked the stewards for everything they do on behalf of our Union.

The Locals represented include Local 282-Rochester, NY, 540-Trenton, NJ, 726-Staten Island, NY, 819-Newark, NJ, 820-Union City, NJ, 821-Jersey City, NJ, 822-Paterson, NJ, 823-Elizabeth, NJ, 824-New Brunswick, NJ, 825-Oradell, NJ, 842-Wilmington, DE, 880-Camden, NJ, 1056-Flushing, NY, 1181-New York, NY, 1321-Albany & Troy, NY, 1342-Buffalo, NY, and 1614-Dover, NJ.

International Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kirk and International Executive Vice President Yvette Trujillo were also in attendance to address attendees, as well as International Vice Presidents Ray Greaves and Jacques Chapman.


More Training On the Horizon

Under the leadership of International President Costa, the ATU is dedicated to bringing these trainings to more locations across the U.S. and Canada. Be on the lookout for a training near you!