This issue of In Transit covers a litany of safety issues that affect transit and school bus workers. From the day we start working in the industry, repairing or driving vehicles, working in stations or cleaning, our bodies are exposed to a plethora of hazards.
The International Union, working with and through the Locals is doing more than ever to keep us healthy. This issue explores everything from engineered blind spots that are killing pedestrians and ruining drivers lives and careers, to smoke that is coming into your bus right from the rear exhaust. Smell those fumes??
We talk about the ergonomics of your driver’s seat, neglectful maintenance, bathroom breaks, track safety, coping with depression and PTSD. Diet, exercise and driver fatigue are also reviewed.
Death in Winnipeg
On February 14, in Winnipeg, MB, ATU member and bus driver Irvine J. Fraser was stabbed to death by a young passenger. This again calls us to demand that our agencies do everything possible to stop transit worker assaults.
In maintenance departments, many ATU mechanics and cleaners still work in terrible conditions. The death of Local 568 mechanic Jake Schwab reminds us that it’s not only drivers who face deadly hazards in transit. Our Pennsylvania members are working on a campaign to get a safety law passed.
All PA members are urged to ask their local officers how each of us can do a little bit to save our members and honor Jake. “We all come to work here –we don’t come to die,” says Anne Feeney the labor singer. That’s right – but nobody will save us if we won’t save ourselves. Let’s get to work.
In 2013 we created a Health and Safety unit here at the International Union. It’s work is well known to local officers. I want you to know that we are working every day to make our jobs healthier, safer and more satisfying.
We need Local Unions and members to join us in hearing that call. We can fix this, but we need a complete re-work of the driver’s work station so that riders cannot reach us, but which also has a shield that is comfortable for the driver. They have them in Europe (see page15). Join our campaign to demand new workstations now! Ask at your union meeting if your Local has signed on to the campaign! v