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Solidarity Forever

As another year comes to an end, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the achievements and challenges and the incredible journey that has shaped our Union over the past year.


ATU’s Fighting Spirit

Contract after contract campaign tested our member’s strength. While our members are heroes every day, the ATU continues to fight to ensure our lives are treated with dignity and respect. Over 450,000 workers across North America, including many of our own members, have stood up and gone on strike so far this year.

Our Local 689-Washington, DC, members working for Loudoun County Transit in Virginia went on strike on a January winter morning. For nine weeks, our members and allies stood strong on the picket line in the rain and cold, resulting in increases in wages. In May, our Local 1212-Chattanooga, TN, school bus members also went on a unified week-long strike that resulted in a strong contract with First Student after nearly 40 bus drivers, monitors, mechanics, and other workers walked off the job. As I write this, our Local 107-Hamilton, ON, members walked off the job to fight for what they deserve. I was able to join them on a surprise visit for the first day of their strike, where I stood on the picket lines with our ATU heroes. Joining us was ATU Canada and Locals from across Ontario. Thank you for holding the line for all of us.

Throughout the year, we’ve also seen our fair share of strike authorizations. From Local 1181-New York, NY, to Local 569-Edmonton, AB, to Local 1756-Arcadia, CA, and other Locals, our members overwhelmingly and bravely authorized strikes if necessary.

We also saw pickets and rallies with our Local 847-St. Joseph, MO, holding an informational picket for higher wages, better working conditions, and improved safety, our Local 1637-Las Vegas, NV, members rallying outside an RTC board meeting to demand better safety for bus operators and riders and our Local 22-Worcester, MA, members picketing for better pay and increased staffing.

None of these fights are easy. They take dedication, resolve, and unity. They take the fighting spirit that is the ATU. While we hope for the day that all transit agencies and employers appreciate and reward the inherent value of our members, the ones who move our cities, towns, and nations, our fight will continue.


On the Ground

Despite the challenges, 2023 was a year of significant victories and progress for the ATU across North America. From successful contract campaigns to organizing wins, we saw our members coming together to demand a voice in their workplaces. We also saw our diverse Caucuses and Conference Boards come together to write ATU’s history. These efforts showcase the power of collective action and solidarity.

In Boston, MA, our Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589 won a strong contract that resulted in an 18% pay increase and the T doubling down on hiring efforts. After more than a year, our Local 732-Atlanta, GA, members and Local 788-St. Louis, MO, reached strong agreements with MARTA and St. Louis Metro.

While there is still so much work to do, these victories demonstrated that the ATU remains a force for change. Additionally, our continued engagement with workers and the next generation of labor leaders showed promise. We continued to invest in workforce development, mentorship programs, training initiatives, and outreach efforts to ensure that the ATU remains strong and inclusive now and in the future.

From officer installations to new officer trainings, from ATU Canada to our diverse Caucus’, I’m so proud to have witnessed firsthand the work being done on the ground on behalf of our members. It was an honor to travel across North America to meet with you in person, grieve with you, fight alongside you, and celebrate with you. We’ve made many memories and history together, and we’ve made a real and lasting impact on the lives of our members, our riders, and the communities we serve. I’m grateful for all of it.

I also had the honor of being on the ground in the London, UK, and Paris, France this year along with International Executive Vice President Yvette Trujillo to build bonds with our partners at the International Transport Federation (ITF), which is 18.5 million transport workers strong from 150 countries, and the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT). We were able to tour the London Underground run by members of Unite the Union as well as the Paris Métro with our partners and strategize with workers around our common struggle with multinational employers. In a world that’s more connected than ever, it’s crucial that we recognize the significance of international worker solidarity. We truly do move this world.


Looking Ahead to 2024

It’s important to recognize that our work is far from over. We can’t stop advocating for our members’ rights, fair wages, and safe working conditions for all. We can’t stop addressing the ongoing issues of income inequality, systemic racism, and gender disparities in the workplace. We can’t stop getting involved in political action and elections with a critical Presidential election in the U.S. and provincial elections, and a possible federal election in Canada next year.

In 2024, I hope to see the ATU grow stronger and more united, building on the successes of the past year. It’s essential that we remain vigilant in the face of anti-union efforts and continue to educate the public about the vital role unions play in advancing economic and social justice.

As we say goodbye to this year and welcome the new one, let us remember that our collective strength and determination can overcome any obstacle. Together, we can build a brighter future for all workers, where fairness, dignity, and respect are the cornerstones of our society. Looking ahead to the coming year, I am filled with hope. We’ll face new challenges, but with the same unity and resolve that have defined our Union, there is nothing we cannot overcome.

On behalf of the entire executive team and our staff, I wish you a joyful holiday season and a happy New Year. May the coming year bring us even greater achievements and prosperity and bring us closer to a truly equitable world. Solidarity Forever!