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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Henry Beasley on the assault problem

Brothers and Sisters, (Part 2)

Going over my verifiable logging of the various assaults in the district and putting them together for everyone. The numbers may be off by a few here or there, but here is the list of logged events. These are the "notable events" in 2017.

Notable events:


Some of the things that really stick out on these lists is the episode of sexual assault, the terror of transit workers in these situations, and the treatment of transit workers when it comes to reasonable safety and security.

Sexual assault is always the most disturbing of these incidents, especially if you know the person.  In this case the district stepped up and made sure that the operator was helped post crisis (from what I heard).  This is a turnaround of sorts from the disaster in handling of these situations in the recent past.

Hearing these calls and feeling the distress in the survivor’s voice is heart wrenching.  If you can listen to some of these calls and not draw tears, then you cannot understand that these are human beings and did not ask for an assailant to abuse them (both physically and or mentally).  When fares are always mentioned as the main reason (in this list there were only a few) for an assault, it is used to shift the blame onto the transit worker for their unwanted aggression.  Transit workers should not fall for this false narrative of blame for just doing your jobs, which requires you to inform riders of what it takes to ride public transit.  We are human beings and we do not deserve abuse, especially when it is the responsibility of the district to provide reasonable safety and security so far, these numbers speak volumes.

In recent times, we have been talking about the treatment of transit workers, specifically our co-union members of First Transit and the inhumane treatment for the lack of bathrooms.  The reason that I included they’re assault because it speaks to the continuing treatment of every transit worker under the district’s brand.  In the bigger picture, the district does not have a policy on what to do “before” or “after” an assault.  In all these cases, the district puts an emphasis on continuing to move vehicles, regardless of the situation; even with the physical and mental disposition of the transit worker.  Safety of the transit worker and the public are “not” considered.  In fixed route, if a transit worker decided to go home they can be subject to discipline for lost time and hope to get workman’s compensation if it goes beyond 3 days.  The lack of policy protecting the transit worker before or after an assault/menacing has yet to be considered on any level.

93 on this list (as far as we know) for the year which is 38 more than last year’s total of 55.  Which is 38 more than 2016 that was a record high at the time over the previous high in 2015 of 41.

Notable events:

shots fired at buses (on line 4), 11/8, 11/10, 11/22, 12/15(X2)

the company's recertification class and they gave the stats for assaults:
50% telling people what to do (with some subcategories)
19% fares.
16% mental illness / drugs.
9% sleeper / welfare checks.
6% random.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Which is contradictory to a 2011 study conducted by the “TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM entitled,” The Practices to Protect Bus Operators from Passenger Assault; their findings state:
 In physical assaults, the following were contributing factors:
• 77%, passenger misconduct; 60%, nonpayment of fares; 51%, alcohol or drugs; and 11%, weapons.
 In verbal assaults, contributing factors were the following:
• 80%, passenger misconduct; 71%, nonpayment of fares; 50%, alcohol or drugs; and 9%s weapons


In their assessment there is no category for “customer conduct.” This is a way a company continues to blame workers for people who choose to do us harm. And if you include the fares into the stats 69% of it is the transit workers fault when it comes to somebody illegally putting their hands on you for just doing your job.

Even by the companies own estimates the assaults are not about fares, which some of us been saying for Years yet we continue to hear this being the main cause of aggression towards Transit workers. At some point we got to wake up and state the obvious fact that there are people that are going to get on to our mode of vehicle and look for a convenient Targets, which is Transit workers.

If we're public employees, then we should be afforded the same protections under the law as other public employees, such as police officers and firefighters.

When there is zero presence in the system then there is zero fear from those who choose to do us harm, and when we put all our marbles on barriers being the be-all-end-all then we're missing the boat of what is reality in our system.

Notable events:

One of our co-workers brought up the question of workmen’s comp and assaults. Recently, our co-worker was denied protected leave following their assault for the first 3 days before the workmen’s comp kicked in. the time-loss, left them confused because of the impact of the punishment for something they did not create. This CBA does not cover those first 3 days under the assault language added into the new contract. So, the worker continues to be punished for things we do not create, and the company has shown no concern, beyond what it is forced to recognize. Our Local has yet to make a statement concerning this obvious loop hole, that continues to punish transit workers.

Notable events:  Post CBA

had a conversation with one of our co-workers that were assaulted last year, about the three days preceding workman's comp. They were informed that they had gotten paid for those 3 days, but upon further scrutiny, found out that the company took it from their sick Bank. Which shouldn't be the case, it should be pulled from administrative leave, instead of an employee’s benefits because it was an on-the-job incident.

They were informed to contact their executive board officer and talk about what had happened and how to proceed from there.

Also reported, the incident where the person was assaulted had gotten punched in the arm by which the comment "they were hit in the arm, but they weren't assaulted." Our co-worker found out later that their shoulder was sprained and not just bumped as reported.

That's why it shouldn't be assumed by people who aren't professionally trained, evaluating a situation they had not been involved in.

The CBA should cover for these incidences properly, and not taking the lowest common denominator and call it effective.

Henry Beasley

Your Brother on the front lines

UNION STRONG

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