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ATU International Vice President Ken Kirk appointed as International Secretary-Treasurer

International Vice President Kenneth Kirk was appointed by International President John A. Costa with approval by the ATU General Executive Board on December 13, 2019 as International Secretary-Treasurer to serve out the term of the late International Secretary-Treasurer Oscar Owens.

“Ken Kirk brings a wealth of experience, leadership and service at the ATU to his new position as International Secretary-Treasurer,” said International President Costa. “While no one can replace ‘Double O’ I know Ken will continue Oscar’s work to fight for the rights of our members and his commitment to social, racial and economic justice for all.”

Kirk came to work in public transit in 1985 while looking for a job to support himself in college when an old friend recommended he apply for a job at Dallas Transit System. He got the job and joined Local 1338-Dallas, TX. After a year on the job, he got sick and had to take three days off. When he returned, his pay had been docked. When he challenged management they told him he hadn’t adhered to
company policy on reporting sick time. Kirk knew he had been singled out because one of the managers didn’t like him. It sparked him to get involved with his Local to make sure management would not do this to his sisters and brothers.

In 1990 Kirk was appointed a Shop Steward at Local 1338. A year later he was elected Vice President of the Local and was elected President/Business Agent in 1994. When Kirk took over the Local had 368 members. By the time of his appointed as an International Representative in 2004, Kirk had increased Local membership to 1,500 members.

While Local President/Business Agent Kirk served the labor community in Dallas as Vice President and President of the Dallas AFL-CIO. He was also Vice President and President of the ATU Texas Legislative Conference Board.

In April 2004, then International President Warren George appointed Kirk as an International Representative. In July 2004, George appointed Kirk as an International Vice President to fill out the term of International Vice President Charles Pettus, who retired for health reasons. Kirk was elected International Vice President at the 54th International Convention in Las Vegas, NV in 2004 and has been re-elected IVP at the last five Conventions.

“I am honored and humbled that International President John Costa and the GEB have appointed me to this position of leadership in our Union,” said Kirk. “I had the distinct honor of working with Oscar Owens when he was first elected International Vice President in 1986 until his appointment as International Secretary-Treasurer. Oscar was a beloved figure in our union, a mentor and a close friend. He gave me the best advice I ever had - ‘always do your job well and the rest of that stuff will take care of itself.’ I look forward to
working with International President John Costa, International Executive Vice President Javier Perez, the entire GEB, and all the Locals in the U.S. and Canada to make the ATU the best union it can be.”