Bus drivers at Columbia Area Transit (CAT) in Hood River have won union representation, taking the first steps toward achieving democracy in their workplace.
On August 18th, 2017, CAT bus drivers filed a petition with the Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB) requesting that the state certify them as members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 (ATU 757), the labor union which represents transit workers in Oregon and southern Washington. Yesterday, ERB accepted the drivers’ petition, recognizing that the overwhelming majority of eligible workers filed union authorization cards.
“Bus drivers at CAT move this city,” said a CAT bus driver and leader in the union organizing campaign, who wishes to remain anonymous due to fear of reprisal from the company. “We make sure our riders get where they need to go safely, and we do it while providing great customer service. We’re just looking to be treated fairly for the work we do. Drivers have seen our hours cut without being consulted by the company. We get less time than ever to inspect our buses to make sure they’re safe before a trip. The company’s even demanding that we work a two-hour layover in Portland without pay. For me, joining the union is personal: the company has taken food from my kid’s mouth, and I won’t stand for it anymore. And that’s why we’re joining ATU 757: this union fights for transit workers no matter what, and they’re going to help us win the workplace we deserve.”
“I’m proud to welcome our brothers & sisters in Hood River to ATU 757,” said Shirley Block, ATU 757 President. “For 100 years, our union has worked to organize and improve the lives of transit workers across Oregon and southern Washington, and that century of experience has made one thing crystal clear: workers win when we stand together. We’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and fighting for a fair contract for CAT drivers.”
“We’re absolutely thrilled to represent CAT workers, and to stand with our newest members as they fight for fair wages, benefits, and working conditions,” said Jon Hunt, ATU 757 Vice President. “All workers deserve union representation, and every transit worker in this region has a place in ATU 757, no matter how big or small the company they work for.”
Now that the drivers’ petition has been approved by the Employment Relations Board, drivers will appoint a bargaining team to begin negotiating their first contract with Columbia Area Transit.