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We Can’t Do This Alone

Looking back at my first year in office as your International Executive Vice President, I have to say what an honor it’s been to be on the ground with our local leadership and members throughout the United States and Canada, working together to put strategic plans in place and to make our great Union even stronger.

Under the leadership of International President Costa, we’ve been able to develop and implement programs on women’s equity, race and labor, safety and security, transit funding, and many others to make sure we are prepared for the challenges impacting our industry and Union.

The training and the programs that have been put together show their value when our Local unions have gone to the table with these tools to fight and secure strong contracts for our membership. We also saw Local unions who were left with no other choice but to strike to fight for our members. Our U.S. Locals also have taken the skills learned at the ATU U.S. Legislative conference to reach out to elected officials to educate them on the issues impacting the workers.

We can’t do this alone. Regardless of where I’m at, I always hear people expressing their frustration and lack of confidence in both political parties. Unfortunately these are our countries’ political systems, so it’s up to us regardless of which side you’re on to make informed decisions and take the time to reach out directly to candidates you consider electing to discuss our issues whether it’s through an e-mail, a phone call or a face to face visit.

I know we have members on both sides of the political aisle, but had it not been for President Joe Biden, we would not have been able to protect our members and our jobs during the pandemic. Because of President Biden, we saw significant funding to transit, allowing for some of the largest increases and wages and benefits that the U.S. has seen. My own Local 1001 in Denver, CO, had nearly 400 members receive letters notifying them of layoffs, but thanks to International President Costa and the funding received, we were able to avert the mass layoff.

Our members in Canada have not had the commitment to transportation funding that the U.S. has seen, so we have to continue supporting them and standing together to elect leadership that will commit to investing in public transit that builds stronger communities. I want to
thank and applaud  ATU Canada’s President John Di Nino and his Executive Board for the great work being done across Canada.

As we’ve seen throughout the labor movement, workers are sick and tired of being sick and tired and are standing strong together to fight for more rather than settle for little or nothing. This sentiment is true for workers around the world. I had the honor of traveling to London and France to meet with workers and our partners in the struggle, the ITF and CGT, and witnessed the power and importance of international solidarity and coming together to fight around our common cause.

I want to thank our ATU Local leadership and U.S. members who went out and did the work this off-year elections to elect labor friendly candidates and pass transit ballot initiatives. 

This year was filled with many victories despite the challenges. I look forward to many more victories with you in the New Year. It’s been my honor serving the ATU as your IEVP this past year and witnessing all of the work being done to advance our labor movement. Have a very happy holiday season!