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Time to Speak Up!

My thanks go out to all the Local Unions working through the Workstation Initiative resolution to get our industry to produce a safer, healthier, more secure bus driver workstation. In this issue, we resume our efforts to bring attention to the safety issues of other ATU workers, as well.

As we continue to pursue OSHA standards for our public sector members, we remember Jake Schwab, 568-Erie, PA, killed at his workstation – a bus repair facility in Erie.

We will examine the issues that concern our maintenance, station agent, and other ATU members, not just to uncover problems, but to find solutions.

Safety surveys have gone out to all of our Locals and we would love to get feedback from you. Just send an email to communications@atu.org. Tell us how your job could be made safer.


International safety team gearing up

In the meantime, the International is offering to send a safety team to Local Unions in January to determine the threats to safety in their buses and garages, and to pursue solutions to those problems. We are training a team now.

Our plan is to make this job safer – one member and one work area at a time.


Fighting privatization

We are running well-oiled campaigns to challenge efforts to privatize transit in Ontario, and Washington, DC.

Let me be clear. Privatization is about lower wages, no pensions, less health care and inferior transit. We at the International can help Locals that want to fight, but Local officers must involve their members in the fight in order to win. And, also, if members don’t engage riders, it’s a lot harder to win.

Working people need to remember that it’s not just in paying dues that we strengthen our Union. It’s in building our presence in the community, and getting riders to actively support us that these fights are won.

If you, like me, are sick of politicians of both parties selling you out, there is something you can do.

The United States of America cannot pay its bills, but we are about to cut taxes for the richest class of people ever to live on this earth. There is something you can do.


Time to fight back

You can fight back. Start by putting your faith in your fellow workers, not the politicians. Go to your union meeting. Formulate a plan to get your riders on our side.

We share the same problems: high fares, cuts in service, lack of funding for our systems, bad schedules, safety problems, bugs on buses, and more.

Our riders are already with us. We just need to ask them to speak up. That starts now, as you read this column.

I’m asking you …and you …and you …and you – to speak up!