Saturday, July 30, 2011

Letter from an ATU 757 member to Jon Hunt

Mr. Hunt.

It seems like we have lost another brother in "our" union. His name was Larry (forgot last), and he started a little bit after me (3yrs), he was older (50's), he stayed a mini-runner for his designation at Tri-met. He past from cancer. He'll be missed. Since you probably have not heard anything. I'll tell you that he worked while he was sick. He worked out of Powell around the last time I seen him (on a holiday run), he had lost 30lbs since I saw him before this. I didn't get a chance to talk with him at that time. He worked the 3, 10hr. shifts.

The reason i'm continuing to talk about the "dirty bus" issue because "it is" important to "us". I'm siteing what you quoted to the Executive board on the ATU website. The part where you site the study done by the PSU group. It reads, "On a cram-packed Line 4 bus in May, noon-time commuters gave Yeh's biology students sideways looks as they milled about, sterilized cotton swabs and plastic lab dishes in hands. The driver repeatedly glanced into an interior mirror. A few puzzled looks, but no questions. Back at the lab, about 120 multi-colored colonies bloomed. The team has just started to sequence the different species, but Yeh said it's very likely that E. Coli and fecal bacteria are present. "People hear fecal bacteria and wonder if someone ... well, it's more about people not washing their hands," she said. Far more worrisome, Yeh said, are colonies showing resistance to antibiotics. She said more testing is needed, but some are showing characteristics of MRSA. Highly resistant, MRSA attacks immune systems through skin breaks and plays a role in about 19,000 deaths annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Here are the risk factors for MRSA:
At risk populations include:

* People with weak immune systems (people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer patients, transplant recipients, severe asthmatics, etc.)
* Diabetics
* Intravenous drug users
* Use of quinolone antibiotics[6]
* Young children
* The elderly
* College students living in dormitories
* People staying or working in a health care facility for an extended period of time
* People who spend time in coastal waters where MRSA is present, such as some beaches in Florida and the west coast of the United States[7][8]
* People who spend time in confined spaces with other people, including prison inmates, military recruits in basic training,[9] and individuals who spend considerable time in changerooms or gyms.

This is the very thing that could have compramised "our" brother Larry (I'm not saying it was the on-bus that caused the cancer). I'm sure 10hrs 3 times a week being exposed to this would not help his quality of life.
We are at "great" risk of losing our quality of life. With our wacky shedules (who came up with splits, need to be shot), no real time away from the uniform, to slashing our health care and now due to the wonderful and thoughful reserch group at PSU, we need to express "why" we need change (real change), on how the systym is being run.

Doing nothing, is not going to solve this, giving speeches is not going to solve this. What as a leader are you going to do about it? You and others that draw a nickle from "all our brothers and sisters" will be held accountable. Our working conditions are horrible and need to change. WHAT NOW?

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