Sunday, July 31, 2011

Interesting correspondence between union members and union officials

The following are some communications between ATU 757 members and union officials:

Email from Trimet driver to president Hunt

I heard that we had issues with our busses on a massive scale, I had my
misgivings about day to day wiping down everything that I touch (steering wheel,
door opener, VCH, yellow bar, air break, PA mic and other things) before i take
the bus out. I did it because since day one at Trimet (3+yrs), greasy stering
wheels are the norm, and the thick layer of dust (or what ever), and the worst
of all the seats!!!  I often wondered what are the long term effects of
breathing in mix of God knows what.
Today I decided to take a look on line to see what, if anything about this story
is true.  I found the article that the riders were talking about (
and took a look, and was shocked that Trimet said that up until 6 months ago
they had cleaners, I laughed, I have never seen (until we got the 2900 series) a
bus that didn't have the issues I stated above.  Trimet also said that next
spring, while I health and insurance has declined, again what are the long term
The reason that I'm writing this is that no one has mentioned it to the
membership.  Only today, when I had a moment did I check the union board to see
what I've missed.  We all need to be made aware of the conditions we face, day
in day out. Can we get this information posted at all the garages.  consisting
of the findings (by the study), and how to prevent the worst of the worst
"strafe infection" (maybe by posting: operators need to watch out for the
following things: not touching face during run, wash hands before using the
restroom (or port-a-potty) and after?  We all need know this and see this in
plane site everyday. Our health is our number one priority.

Email from president Hunt to Trimet driver

We communicate with our members through the Labor Press, on our website,
Facebook and Twitter.  We also put out "tracking Faster" posters to post at all
properties.  While we are always looking for better ways, it is hard not to keep
up with what we’re doing and current events unless our folks don't have access
to any of the above.
Help spread the word to your co-workers about keeping up-to-date on what’s going
on.  The information is out there.  They just need to look.

Email from Trimet driver to president Hunt

I've talked to about 10 coworkers and none of them were aware of this on going
problem, many don't know what the union is doing, until Labor Press comes out
once a month (with last months union issues with management).  This "is" one of
our number 1 issues.  Our health "is not" being taken seriously enough, you
posted this information July 14, yet our members (the ones I talked to) knew
nothing about it.  This type of information needs to be visible more than what
we are currently getting.  3 posters for our union bulletin boards at each
garage or letting our various shop stewarts pass around information, something. 
The impact of our health from breathing in various things can do long term,
unforeseeable damage.  We just lost 3 operators after they retired, who knows if
this type of stuff destroyed their health? Outside of what I do before I take a
bus out, what can we do to get the word out more?  A suggestion:  gather
everyone's email (if they have one) addresses and get that info to them in real
time, maybe.  I don't know, but do we have to lose anymore of our retirees 6
months after they leave this industry?  As always I'll do my part, but the voice
of union needs to be heard by all on this real problem.

Email from Trimet driver to president Hunt

Another reason I'm asking these questions because (I don't know if you are aware) of "Right to Work". meaning "Right-to-work laws are statutes enforced in twenty-two U.S. states, mostly in the southern or western U.S., allowed under provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibit agreements between labor unions and employers that make membership, payment of union dues, or fees a condition of employment, either before or after hiring, thus requiring the workplace to be an open shop. I really don't thing Trimet did all the illegal stuff they have if they don't have a back-up plan in-place, and continue to do what they are doing. Just imagine for one moment they get some judgement against them and have to pay us back millions of dollars. I wonder due to the stalling tactics and imposing, "with ease" against us. They are not being forth-coming and fair to those who have to adjust their lives to do a split shift that has them in-uniform for 13 hour, making them drive broken equipment that has past well beyond the Federal Minimum Standards and not really addressing worker safety (we care but the don't). the "Right to Work" laws have past in our nearest state neighbors, Idaho and Nevada. I would bet Trimet would love to get this law here, Trimet has allot of pull in this city I would not be supervised if they continued to stall the union to get this past.
My question again, what are we going to do in the meantime, waiting for a judgement? Sit on our hands and hope or are we going to get our members to stand as one? we need to be prepared for this type of law (I feel that they are) and stop them from taking "all" of our rights in the workplace.
Just my 2cents
p.s. here is a link to "Right to Work"

Email from president Hunt to Trimet driver

Thanks for your email. Since you have only been a member of the ATU for the last three years, you may not know the history of "right to work" legislation attempts in Oregon. Such legislation has been on the ballot in Oregon a few times in the past several years, and labor has successfully thwarted its passage.
As a member of the Executive Board of the Oregon AFL-CIO, I am keenly aware of any active attempts to promote the "right to work" agenda in Oregon, and in fact am a decision maker as to how the state federation of labor deals with and fends against such action.
Since the initiative laws have been tightened in Oregon in the past several years, folks like Sizemore who had anti-worker big money financiers to bank roll "right to work" ballot measures through the iniative process, those pondering any notion to pursue such legislation these days will not likely have any degree of success.
And because ATU 757 remains a politically active representative and promoter of worker rights in Oregon, with the Oregon House under democratic control, the Oregon Senate evenly split between democrats and republicans, and a democratic governor, any attempt to push "right to work" legislation through the Oregon legislature at this time, or any time in the near future, is highly unlikely.
As far as anyone in leadership roles of the ATU sitting on their hands, not for a second. If you get the opportunity to attend any of our local union meetings, go on the ATU website, look us up on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, you will readily conclude that not only is ATU 757 ready and prepared, we are "out in front" and proactively protecting our members rights on daily basis.
Thanks for your continued support and I ask that you help us build support for the Union among your co-workers by encouraging them to participate in our union. We will all benefit from your efforts.
Jonathan Hunt
President ATU 757

Email from Trimet driver to president Hunt

That's great news, yet my question still remains, "what are we going to do in the meantime?" have you looked over my suggestion? (let me give you a solution: there is only one way (in my eyes) to get Trimet back to the table immediately, and legally that’s operators working their RDO's, there is a "do not call list" for operators who don’t want RDO work, if the union gets a master list of operators who will not work their RDO's until the contract is resolved and give them to each garage. Trimet runs smoothly because our members "will" work their RDO, if they didn’t Trimet will have to cancel "a lot" of runs per day. This (in my opinion) is the legal and safest way to get them back to the table.). You really have not addressed it, or given me something I can do on my end? In my initial e-mail, I was inquiring about a need to know just what we are doing? Trimet is still running over us and not for one moment do I think this is going to cease. I have been here long enough, to go to meetings, rallies/informational, to know what is or is not happening in the meantime. I am angry, due to the fact that I've been going through alot of turmoil with this company (and i'm one of the good employees). If we are going to rally all the troops we need continual and consistent crys for change, not everyone knows what is going on until our union paper or have time (do to our long schedule's: splits, straits or extra board), to check our computers. we've earned it and deserve our contract, the way is was.
Email from Trimet driver to president Hunt

Mr. Hunt.
This correspondence goes out to you and all those who on the Executive board.  I must say that I am disappointed in the lack of communication between the Board and members of the Union.  The more I talk to people about the various issues that “we” face on a daily basis, the more disconnect “we” are from the Union that represents “us”.  What is the role of a Union if there is no communication between members and the Union?  The below information was and is an ongoing problem that “we” face each day.  None existent, contract talks, and dirty buses.  On both issues, I had gotten no credible response from the board.  Just, P.R. talk.  No solutions, no nothing.  Where is the fire that I got that this Union was about results?  Not letting members get trampled over by management.  After the current contract expired, I have seen no strength. All talk, and members don’t know what’s going on.  As far as the perception goes, “we” pay to work at Trimet.
Since my first communications go, no one that I carbon-copied had anything to add that made any since.  That’s sad.  “We” deserve better.
I read the statement about the “dirty-bus” issue on the Union site, not once did it say anything about a “bio hazard” environment that we are exposed to during “our” 6 to 8 to 10+ hours on those buses. None of you communicated this “very” important issue that “we” face.  That too is sad, and to the person who expressed that it is my responsibility to get everyone to send their e-mail address to the union (my idea) so they can get real-time updates is missing the point of why I am writing this in the first place, “it’s you duty” to keep everyone old or new in the loop, you have failed.
Mr. Hunt, I read your response to the Right-To-Work, that’s great that we can block the attempts, but that doesn’t say anything about getting Trimet back to the table.  You did not respond in your e-mail back to me.  Matter of fact you ignored it entirely, in my eyes you just want to keep things hush hush without making too many waves.  That’s not the man that was out front pushing, driving a foot in the sand and not taking anything from management, that’s sad.  There are plenty we can do to disrupt the rather smooth operations that Trimet relies on, off the backs of “us”.  I put it in my e-mail to you, to see if there is anything “we” on “our side” (legally).
So I’m challenging you and any on the executive board to do better, now.  If not during the next elections, my one vote will be many.  Anyone that draws a nickel, from “us” WILL be held accountable; this Union is not just a grievance filer but much more. A united union for the betterment of “US”.
Lastly, if time permits (due to the bad schedule we have) I will be at meetings and I will voice opinion as a full member of this Union.  I also will help my follow union members stay informed, when thay are not.

Email from Trimet driver to Trimet executive board member

I already get some e-mail alerts, plus I check the union board at the garage.  you are missing the point entirely, anyone who draws a nickel from "our" brothers and sisters, "is" responsible for letting "all" members know what is going to effect them. like say the "dirty bus" issue, you and other "paid" board members should have been letting us know that there "is" a major problem impacting "our" health.  I hear nothing from the board, I see nothing from the board.  You and other members of the paid board are the ones that we rely on to keep us informed.  This "is" not happening from you or others.  I get the word out to as many people as I can, what about you?  Or are you and other members of the board just getting paid to sit through grievances or are you liaisons of information that impact "us" paying members?

Email from Trimet driver to Trimet executive board member

Try to understand this, just what is your job? Sit through grievances? Go with the flow of what gets trickled down to you? not make any waves?  You are the one that i need to gather information for "us", and be there when there is a problem. Maybe you did not read my story, let me tell you that just sitting back and doing nothing is not in my vocabulary.  The reason for all this is simple, "we" have to do more as a union.  the seriousness of the dirty busses "is" a real problem, what is your suggestion on this?  Do you even have one? It effects every brother and sister that gets into a cab of a max or bus, are you letting the brothers and sisters know?  If the answer is no, then just what is your duties as a rep?  Do you also have any ideas on getting Trimet back to the negotiating table or how (legally) each and every brother and sister can help to get things moving in that direction?  I had one, and no one responded to it.  I am sending out a challange to "our" union to do better, "we" deserve it!
Email from Trimet driver to Trimet executive board member

I'am out of Center, and my work schedule is a split, therefore, I'm limited in the things I can do, such as meet up to discuss things.  not impossible, but limited.  first let me say that you and others "are" the backbone of the company, without you guys we drivers would be stuck in a rut.  I also believe that the "dirty bus" effects maintenance also, I may be wrong, but don't you guys receive the busses after they have been blown out?  is so than you guys could be exposed to airborne germs, and viruses.  I have been told that there is only "one" cleaner on staff, clearly not enough to get through more than one (emergency bio-hazard marked bus) done.  plus, imagine the build up of dust and other substances that we breath in on a daily basis. Label it bio-hazard.  another question, have you seen the new cameras placed on the 21's?  they are pointed toward the cab, located near the rear door.  these cameras violate the part of the contract, that talks about the cameras filming drivers? how many have been placed on the buses?  have any grievances been filed on them?  In the new training class for drivers they ran a film on a PA situation, you could see who the driver was, and from that angle you can see the entire wheel, not cool.  "we" as a union need to do better, to protect "our" members from potential dangers and violations of "our" contract.  "we also need "everyone" on the same page, tall order.  it needs to be done now, and not put on the back-burner.

No comments: