2014: Time to Roll Up Our Sleeves
By President Jimmie McCoy
Every union’s strength depends upon an active, involved rank and file, and ATU Local 1700 members demonstrated overwhelming support for union democracy in December. Thanks to all of you who cast a vote in the Executive Board election, and to the four-dozen members who ran for office. With that kind of participation, Local 1700 can overcome any challenge.
Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on a full agenda for 2014:
We have contracts to negotiate covering our brothers and sisters at Bolt Bus and in Greyhound terminals. Over the past six years, Bolt has shown that labor and management can work together to offer riders the upside of curbside without cutting corners on safety or union rights, but the company has been much less committed to recognizing the contributions of ticket sellers, janitors, baggage handlers and food service workers.
Every new headline about a fatal bus accident makes it clear that we must redouble our efforts on the ATU over-the-road campaign. Highway safety will depend on organizing non-union lines and removing the leading cause of fatal crashes: the exemption for intercity carriers on paying overtime that leads to driver fatigue. No one is more qualified to lead both efforts than Greyhound drivers!
We must be at least as active in this year’s election season as we were in the 2012 races. Politics is a two-edged sword: anti-labor laws are killing working Americans, but progressive leadership can open doors for us and our communities. We can play a valuable role nationally by lobbying our representatives to support the Schumer Bill to end the overtime exemption for intercity bus lines, and locally by helping elect pro-worker candidates.
And we can never let our guard down when it comes to representing Greyhound drivers, mechanics and terminal workers. Management is always finding new ways to mistreat employees, and we must stand firm against unfair discipline, policies and practices. Negotiating a historic contract last year was the first step; enforcing the agreement is step two.
Success in all these areas begins with educating and organizing union members. The new Executive Board plans to hold meetings to discuss this agenda across the country. With your participation, we can tackle our big challenges and make 2014 a milestone in Local 1700’s proud history.