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Restructuring plan succeeding in the trenches

In the states, the election is behind us, yet still we hear the noise from the talking heads about the gloom and doom of the Democrats and the euphoria of the Republicans.

We, the ATU, have much to be thankful for, cause to celebrate, and accomplishments to be proud of. Seventy percent of ballot initiatives supporting public transit were successful. 

Our members spoke out against ill-conceived streetcar plans that would take work away from members and gouge the public. Those plans were defeated.

ATU members and staff, through our mobilization actions and alliances, not only saved the pension for our Local 788 members in St. Louis, but also laid the groundwork for a contract ratification after many years of spinning wheels. 

Our Local 732 members in Atlanta ratified their contract by approximately 88% of the vote, achieving an agreement that once seemed unlikely.

Our members at Local 615 in Saskatoon, SK, are back to work and fighting for a fair contract and pension, after an unwanted lockout.

This all came on the heels of a fight and eventually a successful contract effort for our Local 1287 members in Kansas City, MO.

Experiencing restructuring success

Prior to our Convention I referred to our restructuring plan as being “Amazon-like.”  Meaning one can surf the online giant’s web pages and see an item, but still have the urge and need to touch and see the product in person.

Now we have seen, felt, and lived through the struggles and success of our convention-approved restructuring program.  Members see the results first hand and the benefits are tangible.

The process has energized the membership.   What ATU is doing has been called not only a gain for ATU, but for all of the working class.  We in the ATU are leading the way for all of Labor.

Fight for transit will be won in the trenches

While we are proud to be ATU, and of our recent accomplishments, our efforts in part have been firehouse emergencies and resuscitation campaigns.  One thing the elections made clear – the fight over public transit projects and the dollars needed to support them will be won or lost in the trenches of our communities.

In calendar year 2015, we have many contracts coming up for renewal in addition to lingering negotiations still underway.   We have learned from our recent efforts.  We need to plan, educate and fight smarter, and become more proactive.

Plans are well under way to expand our capacity to provide training and assistance as well.  How do you cost out a contract?  What effect does Obamacare have on insurance provisions?  What does it mean to be an expert in transit in our home community, and are we willing to go the extra mile with our transit allies?

Every local must commit to a culture of learning and follow through.  Our members deserve no less.

Let’s enjoy the holiday season while knowing that 2015 is the year we move our restructuring to the next level.

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