ATU Local 583 – Monthly Insights – March 2023, Issue #24

International Women’s Day

We would like to once again say our sincere thank yous to the women who are part of ATU Local 583 as well as the broader ATU International, for all of the hard work and dedication you show not only to your own jobs, but to furthering the rights of women within Canada and the US.

Our blog post this month, ‘Gender Based Pay Disparity in Canada’ touches on the titular topic as well as the effects this pay gap unleashes on women across our country. We hope you will take this, and the many other equality-based factors into account when voting in the Provincial election this May.

CDLC – S’ean-Gillen Memorial Scholarship

We are fortunate to be affiliated with several great organizations. One of which is the Calgary & District Labour Council. One of the benefits of such an affiliation is that our Members and their children are eligible for their two annual scholarships of $2,500.00.
The deadline for their scholarship is June 1st of each calendar year. Members in good standing of Local 583 and their dependants are welcome to enter. Visit for more details!

Members in the Hospital

A kind reminder that if you have had a recent hospital stay (overnight), we are happy to send you a little something to brighten your day and let you know the Officers and Members are thinking of you.

Options include: a floral arrangement, a snack basket (cookies and chocolate based) or a healthy basket (dried fruit and nut based).

We are also pleased to take information on any Member you know that has stayed overnight in the hospital.

We require the following information: First and last name of yourself or the Member, if you/they stayed overnight in the hospital’s care and if you/they are currently at home or still in the hospital. If you/they are still in the hospital, we need to know which one, the unit number and the room number.

Transit Safety

As you will all know, safety in the workplace for our Members has always been a priority at every level. Prior to the pandemic the majority of our external threats to our safety were towards our frontline Members. As a result of the pandemic, this has increased exponentially. When the emergency order was first declared in early 2020, which resulted in massive service cuts, and a void of traffic in all of those areas where we serve, the first thing that happened was those areas filled up with segments of society that were not there to utilize the service. This immediately resulted in the facilities being overrun by a criminal element, drug users and many disadvantaged like the homeless.

It made it incredibly difficult for us to work safely in those areas and it appeared that even those responsible for maintaining order were understaffed and overwhelmed by the sheer number of unsavory characters and the disadvantaged.

When things did start to open up, that element was as overwhelming as it had been during the closures. Although the majority of city council recognized this early on and committed to finding ways to clean up the system and make it safe, they have struggled in spite of dedicating funding towards it and implementing a multifaceted approach.

There have been some improvements, by virtue of designing processes to not just kick people off the system but for those that were willing to accept the help, moving them to more appropriate places. However, it is far from done and in spite of all those efforts, the criminal element is still fighting to maintain their place on the system.

It is encouraging to see that as recently as the writing of this article the Mayor is still addressing it and pushing those issues through to the transportation committee and council.

It remains a key focus for us as well. We have been working with ATU international and ATU Canada with their call for a national task force to address public transit safety and the funding required to maintain these systems where both the public and us as frontline workers, can feel safe on the system. As a result of pushing for all levels of government to be part of this solution, we have had multiple media interviews to both expose the issue and keep those that can make change aware of the pressures to do so.

We have also been putting out information on changes to the criminal code that require the courts to take into account section 269.01 stating that they must consider the victim is a public transit employee when sentencing defendants that have attacked our Members. We are getting excellent traction at the crown prosecutors office and very positive responses from experts in the field of public safety.

This week, we have had the opportunity to meet with a university professor of justice and policy studies, to strategize around developing a provincial task force on employee and public safety and if successful will do everything we can to expand that at the federal level.

This is as big an issue for industry as it is for us because they have to recognize that it is a hiring and retention issue and is part of the reason why when they hire 200 people, they’ll only have a net gain of 25 and 50 staff.

Now is the time to recognize this as we come closer to April 28th, the day of mourning for those injured or killed on the job. Recognizing that one injury of our Members is far too many and we are having dozens of them every year.

Ramadan ☪️

The Officers and staff of ATU Local 583 are wishing everyone who is celebrating a prosperous and joyful Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarak!

Mental Health

As per usual, one of our main focuses at the moment is our collective mental health. It’s been nice to see how much more open a topic it has been recently and that lends to our hope for more honest dialogue going forward.

Unsurprisingly, mental health is statistically the number one reason for absence in our LTD plan. This is true across the board, at least in regards to the other plans we have compared to our own. Obviously, this lends to our belief that our overall mental health is just as important as our physical health in terms of how it affects our everyday lives.

This June, our ATU Northwest Conference delegates will have the important opportunity to receive two days of training on mental health in the workplace and the employer responsibilities of the same. This includes identifying the impact of those being mistreated by the public and/or assaulted and the cumulative affect on those events towards post traumatic stress. Training of this kind could not be more crucial. The more we understand about mental health and how to address the negative side of it, the better. This directly benefits our Members as we will have more representatives with the tools to help, should the need arise.

Accident Appeal Process

The Accident Appeal process is something we get a lot of inquiries on, especially if someone is about to go through the process.

When you receive a preventable and decide to appeal it, there is a hearing that goes before the Accident Appeal Board. This Board is made up of three people during a hearing, two of which are ATU Local 583 Operators appointed by the Full-time Officers of the Local. While we do get requests from time to time for Members to have a representative with them, the Accident Appeal process is not the same as a Call In. ATU Local 583 reps do not have a voice during the Accident Appeal Process like they do in a Call In. This means that they cannot ask or answer questions. During a Call In, the ATU 583 rep takes notes, can ask questions and discuss with the Member.

That being said, we know going in front of a Board can be intimidating and if a Member wants moral support during this process, we are happy to provide someone to attend alongside them. This is done with the understanding that the person we provide to attend, while an ATU 583 rep, does not have any authority in the process.

If you have any questions on the Accident Appeal process, please give us a call at the office 403 258 1258 ext. 0.

COPE 397 /jw

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