UPDATED AT 12:30 P.M. ON MARCH 30: Michael Ennis of the Washington Policy Center weighed in on the upcoming “Occupy Transit” rally in Seattle. Click here to see his blog post. – JP
UPDATED AT 5:40 P.M. ON MARCH 29: Mark Lowry, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 843, said the local transit union will not participate in this event. “Disrupting transit service – which this is disrupting – is something that we would take very, very seriously,” he said. “That’s a nuclear option.” Buses here are already crowded, and while he appreciates the need for national action, this move wouldn’t fit well in Whatcom County, he said. The union has a different relationship with the transit agency and public than unions in many big cities do, he said. – JP
In Seattle, transit workers, a riders union and members of the Occupy movement will join together next Wednesday for an “Occupy Transit” event to fight fare hikes and service cuts.
The Amalgamated Transit Union International has endorsed the National Day of Action for Public Transportation on April 4, and the Seattle union chapter will participate in the event.
I haven’t heard of any participation locally (Whatcom Transportation Authority’s drivers are also represented by ATU) but I put out a call to the union president to check. I’ll let you know what I hear.
In the meantime, here is the press release on the event in Seattle:
Local transit unions, throughout the country, will be participating in call to action from Amalgamated Transit Union International. The General Executive Board of the ATU International has endorsed the National Day of Action for Public Transportation on April 4, in cities all over America. Transit workers, riders unions and the Occupy Movement are joining together for this action.
Public transportation is a right. It is also an integral part of our sustainable future. Rather than fighting price hikes and service cuts, we should be focusing on expanding service and innovating more sustainable and convenient systems for mass transit. The economic downturn has been used as a reason to cut back service, raise fares, and layoff workers throughout the U.S.
Here in Seattle, transit workers and their allies will “occupy” buses and trains, traveling down to 4th & Pine St. near Westlake Plaza. There will be informational picketing and distribution of flyers to remind the public that mass transit is for the 99% and that stable funding is needed now.
Drivers of Puget Sound’s electric streetcars founded ATU Local 587 in 1912. The union currently represents more than 4600 transit workers and retirees in Clallam, Jefferson and King Counties. Local 587 will be celebrating their 100th anniversary on April 21st.
The Seattle Transit Rider’s Union is a democratic organization of working and poor people who are dedicated to preserve, expand, and improve the public transportation in Seattle and beyond, so that every human being has access to safe, affordable and reliable transportation.
In Whatcom County, WTA cut service and has increased fares, but some of the service was restored after Bellingham voters approved a sales tax increase for transportation.