Media Center

Proof We Can Win - Even In Tough Times

The results of the June 5th recall election in Wisconsin may have surprised you already. Polls indicate that working people – including union members - voted to keep Republican Scott Walker as governor. But his anti-worker policies will be in check, now, because one Republican Senator was successfully recalled – giving Democrats majority control of the state senate.

Big Surprise

A bigger surprise you might not know about is covered on page 18 of this magazine. That is the story of the little town of Weston, a 16,000-person village in the shadow of Wausau, WI.  The town had lost its’ small transit system to budget cuts last January.

While a majority of Weston’s voters chose to keep Governor Walker in office, a coalition effort ATU helped lead convinced a majority of those same voters to restore the town’s transit system.

I encourage you to read the story about Weston because it is living proof that we can win and expand transit when we work with the riders, even in tough times.  In city after city our members are working with transit passengers in campaigns to fight to save and expand their transit service.

The story about Baton Rouge and the successful community effort there, and Charleston, SC, Pensacola, FL, Providence, RI, and Pittsburgh, PA, where ongoing struggles all involve ATU members reaching out beyond their local union to lead citywide efforts is a sign that we know how to turn around a bad situation.

Local 1182 President Tom McGraw in Saint John, NB, has a passenger and community organizing campaign in full swing, fighting for better service. The local has started a Facebook page (Save Our Bus Saint John) and is building a community-based campaign. They recognize the value of reaching out through social and other media.

This is the work of the Union and it cannot be done without you volunteering your time to help. Your Union is under attack. There is simply not enough money to pay staff to fight the onslaught of anti union-activity.

Thanks for the compliments about my last column, in which I discussed the courage of Rosa Parks in her fight for transit equality. When she was asked why she didn’t just take a seat in the back of the bus, she said she could not betray “the martyr,” her reference to Emmett Till, the 14-year-old found dead in the Tallahatchie River a few moths before.  I want to remind you that Rosa Parks was NOT paid “lost time” for her efforts that day in Montgomery. She challenged power because she believed in equality.

Rosa Parks was “IN”. Are you?