June 25, 2016
By WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
Buffalo, NY – Ask Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1342 President Vince Crehan why his Union’s 1,100 Members – who are employed by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) in Buffalo, have not had a contract for nearly seven years now, he pauses for a moment, then answers: “Because they want to bust the Union.
And after listening to Crehan quickly roll off several reasons why he believes that statement to be true, it’s hard to argue with him: With the current starting rate for Bus Drivers at $13 per hour – which makes it “extremely hard” to recruit new Drivers, the NFTA’s last contract offer contained an unbelievable six zeros in terms of yearly wage increases; and the NFTA wants its Union-represented Employees to agree to pay 10% of their health care coverage. The NFTA also wants new hires to pay 15% of their health care costs, without a cap, he tells WNYLaborToday.com.
Local 1342 represents 1,100 NFTA Workers who are employed by the public transit system as Bus and Light Rail Drivers, Mechanics, Electricians and Clerical Staff. Over the past several years, the ATU has waged a public campaign to focus a spotlight on its lack of a contract with the NFTA. From high-profile billboards to informational picketing held outside the homes of NFTA executive board members to protests outside NFTA job fairs seeking new Drivers, the Union’s taken its message to the public and specifically to the NFTA’s ridership
Right now, the NFTA is currently and still 35 to 40 Bus Drivers short, according to Crehan, and in order to close that gap, the Transit Authority is cutting 35 to 40 trips from its schedule in Buffalo’s Inner City, leaving its minority residents in the lurch, while making a conscious decision to “instead, take care of the suburban routes.”
“You could have someone waiting for a (scheduled) bus (run) on Bailey Avenue (on Buffalo’s East Side) and it ‘won’t come,’” he told WNYLaborToday.com.
These are facts the ATU doesn’t believe the general public and those who ride NFTA buses know about. Therefore, today (Thursday, June 23rd), the ATU held a rally outside the NFTA’s Offices in Downtown Buffalo to call public attention to what’s really going on.
And it appears the NFTA, its executive director and executive board – who were to meet this afternoon, decided to cancel the meeting that would have coincided with the rally because, according to Crehan, they “wouldn’t have had enough board members to have a quorum,” something that he added “has not happened before.” To read more click on the following link