"When it comes to self-driving vehicles, states and the federal government are turning their backs on regulations and issuing a rubber stamp for autonomous vehicles without regard to the safety of the public,” said ATU International President Larry Hanley in reaction to a pedestrian being killed by a self-driving Uber car in Phoenix, AZ this week. “Allowing experimental self-driving technology to be tested on city streets is reckless and dangerous and not the answer for ending traffic fatalities. We need to quit using the public as the crash-test dummies.” Hanley called for a rewriting of a proposed Senate bill, which would regulate autonomous vehicle testing. “The bottom line is protect people before profit. It’s time to put the brakes on autonomous vehicles,” Hanley said. Read more.
Worcester Local, allies to demand better funding for transit
Chanting “no more cuts” and “save our buses,” a crowd of about 100 bus riders, drivers, politicians, and community activists rallied outside Worcester City Hall in support of increased funding for regional transit authorities across Massachusetts and in opposition to proposed cuts at the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA). The agency faces a $900,000 shortfall next year and has proposed service cuts and eliminating weekend service. “Taking a bus is not a luxury. Taking a van is not a privilege,” said Local 22-Worcester, MA, Business Agent Ken Kephart, who attended the rally with his members. “Transportation ... is a basic human right.” Watch video.
Local 113 member on the perils of privatization
At a public hearing on SmartTrack, a proposed Regional Express Rail, a Local 113-Toronto, ON member educated the attendees on the perils of P3s - public-private partnerships. He spoke passionately about how Metrolinx is using P3s to build transit lines and then allowing private companies to operate and maintain them. He also described how via SmartTrack Toronto taxpayers are paying for people in the 905 region to ride Toronto public transit essentially for free. Watch video.
Asleep at the Wheel
A close call involving Greyhound passengers forcing their bus driver who was falling asleep to stop driving highlights why it’s time to address bus driver fatigue to protect bus drivers and passengers. “This driver was pinching her cheeks with tweezers just to stay awake behind the wheel. It’s Congress, federal officials, and bus companies who are asleep at the wheel in their continued failure to address the root cause of these fatal bus crashes – driver fatigue,” says International President Larry Hanley. “We need serious federal regulation of this critical, safety sensitive industry or there will be carnage on our nation’s highways.” Hanley called for passage of the Driver Fatigue Prevention Act, introduced by Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA, in the Senate and in the House by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA. This bill would ensure that overtime provisions in the FLSA are extended to cover drivers of over-the-road buses. Read more.
Millennials, white-collar workers bringing new life to unionsâÂ€¨
The ranks of organized labor have been shrinking for decades, and the upcoming Supreme Court decision on Janus involving public-sector unions collecting fees from nonmembers could be another setback. But the movement has seen new energy with increased public support for unions and membership gains among unexpected workers. Millennials and professionals – doctors, lawyers, and other white-collar workers - are invigorating the labor movement bringing new energy. Last year, a third of the new union members were in professional or technical occupations, mostly in the public sector and more than three-quarters were under the age of 35. Why? Workers are banding together and standing up against management as part-time and contract work grows, automation amps up, and wages aren’t increasing. Read more.
NYC Locals call for critical improvements to NYC public transitâÂ€¨
Investing in public transit is key to growth in the economy and job creation, Local 1056-Flushing, NY, and Local 1179-New York, NY, testified at a recent public hearing on the MTA budget. “Too often policymakers and advocates ignore bus public transit; instead they talk up ferries, more rail and subways, light rail and, inexplicably, a trolley,” the Locals testified. “We need to end this impractical mindset and commit to expand bus service.” The Locals pointed out that a recent “NYC Bus Coalition” report on improving bus service in the city centered on the recommendations the Locals have made. Read more.
Video: The Question of Privatization
Across the country, city governments are looking at outsourcing public services - including public transit - to private companies claiming it saves money. We all know that is a farce. A new video explores how this is happening in our nation’s capital as the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) is looking at what to do with the D.C. Circulator, a bus line currently "managed" by First Transit, a company with a poor track record. This video exposes the truth about how these private for profit contractors exploit skilled workers and slash their wages, leaving many to apply for public assistance to be able to provide for their families. Watch video.
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