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The ATU mourns the loss of Local 265-San Jose, CA member, calls on VTA to do more to address mental health

Silver Spring, MD – Amalgamated Transit Union International President John Costa released the following statement in response to the tragic suicide of Local 265-San Jose, CA Brother Henry Gonzales:

“The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) is heartbroken to report the passing of our Local 265-San Jose, CA Brother Henry Gonzales who tragically took his own life. Brother Gonzales was an Executive Board Member and a Paint and Body Worker in the Light Rail Division at the Santa Clara VTA Guadalupe Rail Yard. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and our brothers and sisters at Local 265.

“This tragedy once again underscores the need to make mental health a priority in the workplace. Unfortunately, the VTA has taken no action to address the grief, the mental health, and the safety of their employees who have been under unfathomable, extreme stress after this tragic shooting. The VTA’s inaction is shameful and threatens the well-being of our Local 265 members. VTA workers must have immediate access to the full spectrum of mental health services, including in-patient care. They must also have access without having to get through the thicket of bureaucratic hurdles that currently restrict access to needed care.

“Now more than ever, the ATU is committed to advocating for the mental healthcare of our members. We must make mental health a priority in the workplace, not just after a tragedy. We have to end the stigma around asking for help. We vow to continue to do what the VTA has failed to do in memory of Brother Gonzales and our nine brothers killed that day.

“If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We urge our members who are dealing with mental health concerns or substance abuse to contact our trusted partner, FHE Health, at 1-866-276-1610.”