Media Center

Oct 30

2020 Presidential Election and Member Safety amidst Possible Demonstrations and Civil Unrest

The current U.S. election is unlike any seen in our lifetimes.  Many of our fellow Americans are voting without full confidence that their ballot will be counted.  State officials and courts are undermining the election by closing polling stations and ballot drop locations, and by launching efforts to reject ballots which have been properly cast by mail.   

The ATU is a democratic union—every member gets a vote, and every vote is counted.  We expect the same of our federal elections, and will stand with all citizens of good conscience to insist that every citizen be allowed to vote and have his or her vote counted, regardless of  the candidate they support.

Given the contentiousness of the voting process to date, the ATU and your Locals are demanding our transit agencies prepare for possible large demonstrations and civil unrest.  As Americans, we fully support the right of people to freely assemble and speak.  As transit workers we take pride in handling large events, ensuring that the riding public arrives safely and the role we play is supporting people’s exercise of their First Amendment rights.

To ensure our members’ safety, the ATU and your Locals are demanding our transit agencies adequately prepare for demonstrations—especially during this pandemic—and for civil unrest which would endanger our safety. We recognize that many members may be worried that their already dangerous jobs will be made even more dangerous. 

Safety and Health During Mass Demonstrations and Civil Unrest

The International and your Local unions are pushing transit agencies to address the following:

Mass demonstrations bring the possibility of crowded buses, trains and stations.  In order to reduce the aerosol transmission of COVID-19, transit agencies need to prepare to add service to address crowds. 

Safety of members comes first. As with COVID, the ATU will not let our transit agencies put members in harm’s way to transport detainees and law enforcement officers.  In the civil unrest over the summer, buses were burned and targeted in a number of cities.  As with the summer civil unrest, you as a member have a right to refuse unsafe work.  To know your rights click here for ATU Legal Bulletin regarding the right to refuse unsafe work.

If you have questions, please contact your Local leaders.