October 2017 e-newsletter


What’s New at ATU 757?

October 2017 edition

Welcome to the first edition of ATU 757’s brand-new e-newsletter for members! We’ll use this space to keep you updated about what’s happening inside your union, in the world of organized labor, and around our region. If you have a feature you’d like to see in a future edition, please contact ATU 757 staff!

In case you missed it…
Headlines from ATU 757 and around the union world
  • Oregon’s new distracted law means big fines for using a cell phone or two-way radio while driving. There are exceptions for some but NOT all of our transit workers: check out our guide to this new law and how to avoid a ticket.
  • The ATU 757 family is growing: the 10 bus drivers at Columbia Area Transit in Hood River have won union representation, taking the first steps toward achieving democracy in their workplace. Please join us in welcoming your new sisters and brothers to the union!
  • TriMet’s top boss just got a 3% raise and a glowing performance view from the company’s Board of Directors. The Union has looked over Neil’s performance review, and we can’t help but notice that it’s a little more company spin than fact, so we set the record straight with a performance evaluation of our own. The short version: let’s judge our transit company bosses by how well they provide quality service and take care of their workers, not how good they are at contracting out union work and fighting workers’ comp claims.
  • Transit operators across our region lack access to adequate restroom facilities and bathroom breaks. Even worse, your sisters and brothers are losing their jobs for answering the call of nature. NW Labor Press features the story of one TriMet LIFT driver who’s fighting back with the help of the Union.
  • TriMet has altered its training program for light-rail managers after ATU 757 filed a complaint with OSHA expressing concern that potentially unqualified managers were driving revenue vehicles with passengers.

Spotlight: assaults on transit workers
Every day, ATU 757 members are punched, kicked, spit on, threatened, verbally harassed, or worse. Enough is enough, and we’re renewing our commitment end the epidemic of assaults on transit workers in our region. Below are just some of the steps we’re taking in the short term:
  • In the next week, we’ll be publishing a resource guide for members on what to do if you’re assaulted. This guide will include tips for how to take care of yourself after an assault, contact information for employee assistance programs, and steps to maximize your health, safety, and well-being. Stay tuned – we’ll send out this new guide via email, our website, and social media, and make sure every new member receives it during their union orientation. As part of this guide, we’ll also be looking at changes to the Workers’ Comp system to ensure that assaulted workers no longer see their claims routinely denied.
  • At the 55th Annual Oregon AFL-CIO Convention last month, ATU leadership and staff built stronger connections with the Oregon Nurses Association and American Federation of Teachers on the issue of assaults against workers. Both nurses and educational assistants experience the same situation as our members: assaults happening all the time, and bosses that consider them “just part of the job.” We’ll be working to learn more from the nurses and educational workers about what’s helped them address this situation in their workplace, including legislation to require companies to track and report assaults against their workers.
  • In the past, TriMet operated a “Rider Advocate” program, contracting with local neighborhood-based organizations to provide trained staff to ride bus and MAX, intervene when any conflicts between passengers and workers arose, and providing a calming presence on our transit system. TriMet management cut the program due to “budget constraints,” but it remains popular with our members and our community partners. We’re exploring what it would take to bring this program back – with or without the company’s blessing.
  • Some of our properties have experimented with de-escalation and self-defense trainings for members, to make sure our workers have all the tools they need to keep themselves safe when assaults occur, and to help de-escalate tense situation before an assault happens. In the coming months, we’ll be working with our partners in the law enforcement and public safety community to evaluate and expand these training opportunities to as many of our members as possible.
  • Finally, we’re actively fighting on multiple fronts to ensure that transit facilities are designed to promote worker safety: well-lit, with safe restricted-access areas that workers can use during breaks. That will include a campaign to promote the use of public safety call boxes – like the ones you see on college campuses – to make sure our workers can call emergency services when assaults occur.
We can make a difference, but it’s going to take all of us coming together. To learn more about these campaigns and to get involved in stopping assaults on transot workers, please contact our staff Public Policy Coordinator, Jared Franz, via email at jaredf@atu757.org or by calling the union hall at (503) 232-9144.

“Right-to-work,” the Supreme Court, and ATU 757

Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court kicked off its new term, and they’ve agreed to hear a case that will likely make the entire country “right-to-work” for public-sector union members, like most of the sisters and brothers of ATU 757. The situation is serious, but all is NOT lost: we’re going to work with the Oregon AFL-CIO, and unions across the Pacific NW, to stay strong in this new environment.

What is a “right-to-work” law?

“Right-to-work” is an old propaganda term bosses started using in the 1940s, that would devastate public-sector unions across the US. In short, right-to-work makes it illegal for unions to collect what are called fair share fees from non-members in the bargaining unit, even though those “fee objectors” profit from the wages, benefits, job security, and union representation that we provide. The “right to work” is more like the right to freeload on the backs of union members in good standing.

This year, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Janus v. AFSCME, and based on the partisan make-up of the Court, it’s almost certain that they’ll make the US a right-to-work country for public-sector members; the case doesn’t apply to private-sector unions, but we know that it’s only a matter of time before that’s on the table in the courts or Congress.

So what’s our union going to do?

We don’t want to mince words: right-to-work is going to be one of the biggest challenges our union has ever faced, and we don’t fully know how the impact will be felt in our region. But we know that ATU 757 is up to the task. We’re going to use this as an opportunity to strengthen our internal organizing and our local leadership to become a more democratic union, while we work to convert any fee objectors into union members in good standing. We’re going to need every member of ATU 757 to fight this latest attack on our Union and on the labor movement. Learn more about “right-to-work,” what it means for organized labor, and what we’re planning to do about it on our website!

Upcoming meetings and events

Copyright © 2017 Amalgamated Transit Union Division 757, All rights reserved.

Questions or comments? Please contact:

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757
1801 NE Couch St, Portland, OR 97223
(503) 232-9144

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By | 2018-06-01T11:52:43-07:00 June 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|