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ATU Celebrates Black History Month 2024

International Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kirk

International Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kirk was appointed by International PresidentJohn Costa with approval by the ATU General Executive Board on December 13, 2019,to serve out the term of the late International Secretary-Treasurer Oscar Owens. Kirkwas elected at the ATU 60th International Convention in Las Vegas, NV, in September 2022. Kirk came to work in public transit in 1985 while looking for a job to support himself in college taking a job at the Dallas Transit System. He joined Local 1338-Dallas, TX. After a year on the job, he got sick and had to take three days off. When he returned, his pay had been docked. When he challenged management, they told him he hadn’t adhered to company policy. It sparked Kirk to get involved with his Local. In 1990, Kirk wasappointed a Shop Steward. A year later, he was elected Vice President of theLocal and was elected President/Business Agent in 1994. By the time of his appointment as an International Representative in 2004, Kirk had increasedLocal membership to 1,500 members. In July 2004, Kirk was appointedas an International Vice President to fill out the term of retiredInternational Vice President Charles Pettus. Kirk was electedInternational Vice President at the 54th International Conventionin 2004 and was re-elected IVP at the last fiveConventions before becoming IST. Thank you,Brother Kirk, for your leadership andyears of service to our Union.

Kelvin Skerritt - Local 1181-New York, NY

Local 1181-New York, NY Brother Kelvin Skerritt, a School BusOperator for Atlantic Express and then Hoyt Transportation for thepast 30 years, is a member his Local can always count on no matter the ask. He became a Shop Steward seven years ago to guide and educate his fellow members to know their rights and fight for them in theworkplace. Wanting to get more involved, Brother Skerrittserved on the Local’s Negotiations Committee, whichhelped secure a strong contract. He is also the unofficialphotographer for the Local, covering the Labor Dayparade, rallies, and other events. His wife Valquiseis also a member of Local 1181 as a SchoolBus Attendant, and they have had theunique opportunity to work on the sameschool bus for the majority of theircareers. We thank Brother and SisterSkerritt for their years of service anddedication to our Union, their members,and the entire labor movement.

Orlando Riley - Chair,ATU New Jersey State Joint Council

Brother Orlando Riley joined our Local 819-Newark, NJ, in 1995 as aService Person at the NJ Transit Hilton Garage and became a Repairmanin 2001. Recognizing he could advocate for his fellow members,Riley served as a Maintenance Shop Steward from 2002 until2010. He wanted to take on a bigger role and was electedas a Representative to the NJ State Joint Council in 2005.Riley decided to run for office at his Local and was electedRecording Secretary in 2011 until 2015, when he wasappointed Acting Vice President. He was then elected VPof his Local in 2016, serving until 2018. After serving asVice Chair of the NJ State Joint Council, Riley was electedas the first Black Chair of the Council in 2020. During theCOVID pandemic, he fought for the health and safety of ourNJ members, securing free testing, PPE, and otherprotections. Riley continues to be a strong advocatefor our NJ members and Locals to improve safety,health, and working conditions. We thankBrother Riley for his commitment anddedication to our Union.

Tunika (Grace) Udoh - Local 113-Toronto, ON

Tunika (Grace) Udoh is a dedicated member of our Local 113-Toronto, ON, withtwenty years of experience as a Transit Operator in Bus Transportation at the TTC.Her commitment to the labour movement extends well beyond bus operations. Elected as a Shop Steward in December 2021, Grace advocates for our members’ rights and ensures their welfare in the workplace. She loves the challenges of this role, having to wear many hats to truly help members navigate their day-to-day lifechallenges at work and/or home. She believes Union leaders mustwork to assist, relate, and empathize with members who representmultiple ethnicities and diversities.  Grace plays a key role asa member of Local 113 Political Action Committee, helpingdrive the Local’s campaigns to keep transit public andsafeguard the interests of our members. A volunteer forthe Local 113 Men's Basketball Team, she was recentlyelected to the executive board of the ATU InternationalBasketball Classic Committee.  Grace also volunteers forvarious ATU projects and community engagementinitiatives.  Beyond her union work, Grace uses herexperience and understanding of the challenges facedby workers to impact the labour landscape in Toronto,serving on the Women's Committee for the Toronto/York Region Labour Council. Thank you, Grace, foryour service and activism for our members, ourLocal 113, and your community.