ATU Local 583’s Assault Awareness Campaign entitled “Easy Rider” is underway. The origin of the “Easy Rider” expression can be dated back to the late 1800’s when the term was used to mean “a horse that was easy to ride”. The name was further immortalized in the iconic 1969 film.
Scout Communications presented their proposed strategy to launch our campaign in September 2014. The plan started with Local 583 members participating in focus groups to explore the issue of Transit Operator safety and investigate opportunities to use marketing and communication strategies to deter these negative interactions. The results were tabulated recognizing some key findings, such as: the majority of assaults are over fare disputes, there is an interest in more de-escalation training, and management is expected to show zero tolerance for assaults and make Operators feel supported. This was followed by a telephone omnibus survey in February of this year. The survey yielded some of the following observations: one in four Calgarians had read, seen or heard something in the media about Operator abuse and one in ten had witnessed abuse first hand.
The full strategy was to take a three-pronged approach: developing the advertising campaign, developing the media plan/kit and to approach and work with the City collaboratively to address the issues.
In June 2015 Scout offered the Local two distinctly different approaches. One was an in your face hard-line approach, the other, which is what the Local chose, was to showcase our members as reasonable Calgarians working in a big city without some of the associated big city problems. A campaign to inform all Calgarians that our Operators are human and contributing members of society and should feel safe in their workplace just like everyone else, worthy of respect and kindness while doing their jobs. The campaign is bright, unimposing and evokes a casual feel, asking people to be nice without a tone of admonishment.
The Full Time Officers made a forty-five name list of Operators we thought could be our “talent” for the ad. We further shortlisted thirteen, called those Operators and asked them to submit smiling photos of themselves. Eight members responded with pictures which were sent to Scout for their final decision. Due to time constraints and despite our best intentions for a diverse looking photo shoot, the members who were chosen were selected for their natural, pleasant appearance. Thank you to Randy, Steve and Bob for obliging us.
The Easy Rider campaign is currently in full stride with media interviews being given and advertising on bus shelters and billboards. Together with the research in hand and on the advice of Scout Communications, Local 583 targeted the routes with the most assaults. Routes 1, 24 and the 72/73 show a prevalence for Operator assaults and were the target routes for ad placement. Our research has shown 80 reported assaults from April 2014 to May 15, 2015 on 46 different routes. This averages to about 7 assaults per month and Local 583 thinks that is 7 too many!
The Local has met with key management for Calgary Transit and have voiced the membership’s concerns. Calgary Transit is respecting the perceptions of Local 583 and has committed to work together and to move forward with resolutions to make Transit Operators feel safer in the workplace.
Please check the website and bulletin boards for a full list of advertisement locations and the dates they will be up. The campaign is running until the week of December 7, 2015.
On September 22, 2015 the Local’s delegation traveled to Toronto for the founding convention of the new ATU Canada. The first two days were spent on fine tuning the proposed bylaws. The one change that generated the most discussion was to remove the Director’s position which was proposed as a hired position. The delegates favoured making the elected President a full time position and the voice of ATU Canada in lieu of the Director. The whole Executive Board would then be elected by the attending delegates.
To that end, after the Bylaws were passed there were full elections for all of the board positions. There were two candidates for the President, both of them from Ontario Locals. Brian Tansy, President of Local 741 London and Bob Kinnear, President of Local 113 Toronto. The result was a majority win for Brother Kinnear who is now the new spokesperson for ATU Canada.
As the President of the biggest Local in the ATU he is well versed in media relations. Using that experience to represent the views of all ATU members from across the country is a good start in presenting our position on today’s transit issues.
Rick and Neil represented Local 583 at a 2017 municipal election strategy session at the end of September, hosted by the Calgary District Labour Council. It was attended by 4 of the civic coalition unions to lay tentative plans for the next civic election and to discuss which possible candidates to focus our support on. Some may think this is too early but it will be beneficial to have some ideas on which candidates favour labour’s position as the election gets closer.
Our Members continue to tell the Local Officers to discuss working together. It seems that camaraderie is on a downturn and is not as apparent as it once was. Members used to assist each other in providing customer service, even to each other, and were more amicable than we are seeing today. For example, if an Operator were to have a completely loaded bus and the key behind were to have little to no passengers on theirs, that key behind would notify the Operator ahead to sort out a strategy to help each other. Realizing the radios of today won’t facilitate simple contact, the most basic form of communication is easily available, face to face. A Maintenance example would be one Member accusing another Member on a different shift of not completing their assignment correctly; that would be a Management decision. It is not up to a Member to make that assessment. Offering to help each other out in any situation will have a tendency to restore camaraderie and reduce stressors in the workplace.
Working together is important so we can achieve some great things: a sense of higher self worth and being a strong, united voice when it comes to Member concerns. Members have reported that today it seems that people are waiting for someone to make a mistake so they can report out to a Supervisor. We need to be better than this. Although technology has advanced and has made some things easier, we can still work together. We need to support each other to get the job done.
We have been asked to provide some clarity when it comes to bidding on vacant positions. If you are bidding on a position in the same job function, you only need to fill out a bid sheet. If you are bidding on a position that will lead to a promotion then you will be required to fill out an internal application form (P201). Both of these forms are available in the workplace from Dispatch or a Foreman.
The Annual Retiree’s Banquet was held on September 26, 2015. It was a successful event with almost 700 attendees. We have received a lot of positive feedback. We would like to thank everyone who helped in making the banquet a success, especially the Social Committee and Office Staff.
The Boom Group has offered discount priced ski cards for purchase. Anyone interested in purchasing the cards are requested to call the Union Office at 403-258-1258. More details on costs, locations and other specifics will be posted as the information comes in.
Our Annual Children’s Christmas Party is on November 29th, 2015. The fun begins at 10:30 am and Santa will arrive at 1:00 pm. Bring your children for an enjoyable day out. Please check the bulletin board in your work area or the ATU 583 website for more details.
Congratulations on their Retirements 2015
Wilfred Crewe – Fleet – 10 years – October
Willem Driessen – Fleet – 30 years – October
Dave Ward – Maintenance – 35 years – October
Cathy Wendorf – Fleet – 32 years – October
Thank You Cards Received:
Laust (Larry) Noer
The family of Abe Loewen
For Your Information:
The next Regular Meeting is November 10, 2015 at the Union Hall at 10:00 am and again at 7:30 pm. Only signed up members are able to attend.
Contibutors this month
Rick Ratcliff – President/Business Agent
Neil Armitage– Executive Vice President/Assistant Business Agent
Zul Vira – Financial Secretary/Treasurer
Bill Johnson – Recording Secretary/Maintenance/Office