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ATU at our best

Drive the bus, fix the bus, sell the fare cards – these are the simple tasks that the public thinks we do at work. Unless they’ve done the work themselves they don’t realize the many other roles drivers fill. And, for sure, the public at large will never understand the highly skilled work we do.

Transit workers do all of the above – and much more: We are sidewalk psychiatrists offering advice to people operating at every stage of mental difficulty. We are surrogate parents to the kids who ride our bus or train.

We often rise to the needs of the public above and beyond what is expected of us. We are very often first responders, often taking action to protect our passengers from crime. In the case of a Local 998 member, the victim was not even on the bus. In Calgary, AB, our member returned $1,000 that was in a wallet left on a bus by passenger – it was her rent money.

The best of ATU

In this issue we salute the best ATU has to offer. I encourage you to read these stories. These are folks who signed up for a job and quickly learned that the challenges include much more than the duties in the job description.

These are stories about regular people intervening to save an autistic child; a 15-year old girl from abduction; a passenger under attack for her religion; a driver who returned $50,000 in cash he found on his bus; and another who saved an 80-year old woman from a vicious attack.

This is ATU at our best.

The acts of these members range from decency to valor, and mark a standard that makes us proud to be ATU. Throughout the month of August we will keep the historic video of Rep. Elijah Cummings’ speech at our 1998 Convention up on our website,  I have never seen a non-transit worker who so much understands the extraordinary work we do.