Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Just a quick note on operator assaults, the numbers. During the meeting last night I wanted to express to our representation that any further communication with the public needs to address members as human beings. So far the communications concerning assaults are at best ancillary and did not express what our survivors go through when they find themselves at the receiving end of those who want to do us harm. We go to work to earn a living to support our families and our personal ways of life, we don’t expect to be assaulted for just doing our jobs.
When we allow members to be scapegoated as non-human beings, we allow the company to dictate who we are; expendable equipment. Humanizing members should always be the goal of every union body and in our union that should be no different. Currently we are being complicit in creating a narrative that blames front line workers as anything but just doing their jobs, an example fares. I’m clearly not going to get into that because it would take pages and pages to explain the minutiae of this problem. Instead of that we should discus policy and how it needs to change to better protect our members.
It’s a shame that during the meeting our representatives provided nothing but silence on the matter which is disappointing that our side does not have our best interest at heart.
The numbers: As reported in the general public
• 2010 – 34
• 2011 – 26
• 2012 – 19
• 2013 – Nothing reported publicly but more than 11 at the time of the assault in North Portland.
• 2014 – 28
• 2015 – 41
• 2016 – 26 as of June, up 46% over last year (as reported)
In 2013 the company made a statement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsBYKYaviJc
So, using the company logic and simple math, they’ve had 95 chances to provide reasonable safety for the operators. But as I’ve also stated, we are complicit in doing the exact same thing as the company and forgetting that members pay dues that pay salaries that goes to protecting members from wrong doing. We need to talk policy that provides reasonable safety to the frontline worker. If “safety is a core value” then prove it.
One of the things I think get misplaced in the bigger picture is we need a visual/verbal look at our situation. I think this recording should be played at board meeting to express what we go through when we find ourselves on the receiving end (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNh6zLg846U) of someone who wants an excuse (any excuse) to do us harm.
Your Brother on the Front lines