Stress & stress-related illness are epidemic among transit workers

We’re still gathering the facts about reports of an altercation between a bus driver and passenger in Estacada which appeared on social media this week. It would be inappropriate for ATU to comment on this specific incident until we fully understand what happened, but we do want to take this opportunity to talk about something that we don’t discuss often enough: the epidemic of stress and stress-related illnesses among transit workers.

From Walla Walla to Vancouver, and Portland down to Medford, our members get people where they need and want to go. We move cities, towns, and everywhere in between. But whether we’re driving a bus, maintaining vehicles in a garage, or working in dispatch, public transit is among the most stressful fields to work in. Every day is a juggling act: pressure to maintain “on-time performance,” providing excellent customer service, management ignoring workers’ on-the-job expertise, lack of bathroom breaks and unsafe facilities, the knowledge that you’re sitting vulnerable in a seat at a time when assaults against operators happen every day – all that together and more is why one 2013 study shows that rates of depression and stress-related illness are higher among public transit workers than any other profession in the US.

We want each and every one of our sisters & brothers to know: your union has your back. No worker should stand alone, and our union is only strong because we look out for each other. Rain or shine, day or night – your union officers, leaders, and staff are here to support you. And if you need help connecting with your shop steward, liaison officer, or executive board officer, don’t hesitate to call us at (503) 232-9144 so that we can connect you, and be sure to check out our website at, which has contact information for every officer at every property.