The Chicago Transit Authority Is Unfair To ATU Transit Workers And Riders

The Chicago Transit Authority Is Unfair To ATU Transit Workers And Riders
The Chicago Transit Authority Is Unfair To Workers And Riders
The campaign to get fired CTA bus driver Erek Slater back to work continued on March 9, 2016 outside the headquarters of Chicago Transit Authority in downtown Chicago. His defense campaign has grown, getting support from unions as far away as Korea and Australia. And support has expanded among Chicago unionists and community activists. Slater had taken seriously his duties as shop steward and defended a fellow worker whose rights were being abused by management, and for that management has targeted him.

Slater's firing is a symptom of a much larger problem. Ayo Matt, a paratransit activist, said that disabled riders "face unsafe worker conditions which affect us...because we have an unelected CTA Board that does not understand the issues that are being brought forth here today...We will not tolerate them firing Erek Slater for speaking out...The riders of paratransit are faced with over-worked drivers...We know that all of this is corrupt, it's illegal, and disabled people will not be silenced."

"What does it look like when 90% of the ATU are underpaid, over-worked poor Black families," asked, Johnae Strong of BYP 100. "What does it mean when they have spaces where they cannot air grievances, where they cannot have paid sick days, where they have to fight to support their families? And when they do they are reprimanded or, worse, they are off the job." Strong emphasized that BYP 100 is "dedicated to fight for racial justice as it connects to economic justice because we know that those two things are extremely tied together."

Howard Ehrman, an occupational medicine physician, suggested: "What has to happen in this city is a grand alliance, like the postal workers are doing, among all the public worker unions, the CTU brothers and sisters here, and everybody who uses the schools, the post offices, public transit. CTU wrote a great paper called The Schools That Our Children Deserve. What we need to do is the same thing with public transit." Video length is 13:58

CTU bus routes and schedules put drivers and riders under intolerable pressure. Photo: Labor Beat