Transit workers across the Portland region, especially bus and rail operators, are attacked, harassed, and assaulted every day. We need better tools to prevent assaults, and to protect workers when they are assaulted. This year, we’re working on two bills in Salem to address assaults against ATU members:
First, we need to close the felony assault loophole, and ensure that offenders are held accountable. Right now, it’s only a felony to assault an operator who is in the seat driving the vehicle. If you’re out of the seat, or if you’re a supervisor or service worker? It’s not automatically a felony to attack you. That’s absurd, and it needs to change.
Second, we need to understand where, when, how, and why assaults are happening. Unfortunately, there is no uniform standard for how to track assaults against transit workers, and no requirement to report assaults publicly when they happen. We will be working to create a task force in Salem to address this exact issue, to ensure that TriMet and other transit agencies are required to track and report assaults against their employees.
We need to stand together to demand change. Stay tuned for upcoming ATU lobby days and opportunities to demand that the Oregon Legislature protect us. And in the meantime, PLEASE reach out to your Oregon State Senator and State Representative to ask them to support legislation protecting transit workers. Not sure who represents you? Head over to the Legislature’s website to find out!