Media Center

Jul 13

Memorandum in Support of CERTS Act

 

Dear Senator: 

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the largest union representing transit workers in North America, strongly supports the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act of 2020 (S. 4150). 

The coronavirus has devastated the motor coach industry. With millions of Americans still working from home, commuter bus operations are folding. Ridership on scheduled intercity bus systems is just a fraction of what it was previously, and tour buses are idle. Layoffs are in the tens of thousands. 

Similarly, since schools shut down in March, school buses have obviously not been rolling. Despite Congress’ sincere effort in the CARES Act to ensure that school bus contractors continued to get paid and workers kept their jobs during the school closures in the 2019-20 school year, Congressional intent has not been carried out. For many school bus contractors and employees, the result has been shuttered doors and rampant unemployment. Not only have workers lost their jobs, but many have also tragically lost their health insurance in the middle of a pandemic. 

Four months into the crisis, workers and their families in the school bus and motor coach industries who were already struggling to make ends meet are now facing some very difficult choices that no family should have to make. Should we pay the mortgage or the utility bill? Can I get by without that prescription? Do I get my essentials at the grocery store or the food bank? The hardship being felt by the members of our union in these industries is difficult to describe. These are hard-working people who take tremendous pride in getting us to work and our children to school safely every day. Now, they need your help. 

The CERTS Act would provide $10 billion in emergency economic relief funding, in the form of grants (no less than 50% of total funding) and other economic assistance, through the Department of the Treasury, to motor coach operators, school bus companies, U.S. flag passenger vessel operators, and other U.S. transportation service providers designated by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation. 

We are so grateful for the generous level of support provided to the public transportation industry in the CARES Act. It has provided the resources necessary to keep our cities moving, shining a light on our brave members in the transit industry who have reported to work each day in spite of incredibly dangerous working conditions. Now it’s time to save the other transportation heroes – our school bus and motor coach workers. Their industries need your help to survive. 

We urge you to support the CERTS Act and work to include it in the next COVID bill. Thank you for your consideration of our views. If you have questions regarding this information, please contact Jeff Rosenberg in the ATU Government Affairs Department at (202) 309-4108 or jrosenberg@atu.org. 

 

Sincerely,
John A. Costa
International President