Press Release: We Are at Work: There is No Sickout

From Claudia Hudson, Chief Negotiator, on behalf of AC Transit Bus Drivers and Riders
Wednesday July 21, 2010 - 11:29:00 AM

Beginning on Sunday, AC Transit changed the entire service structure of our massive system without informing the public, so there has been massive chaos for our workers and the public. AC Transit single-handedly "imposed" a non-negotiated contract on bus drivers and mechanics; they changed work schedules, service routes and responsibilities without any training for our workers. Drivers are driving routes without training, resulting in passengers having to tell them where to turn. One driver with diabetes and poor night vision has been assigned to a night shift. A senior driver who lives in Pittsburgh was reassigned to a Trans-Bay bridge route, which he has never done. A single mom with three kids in Vallejo was reassigned without notice to a 5 a.m. shift but childcare doesn't begin until 7 a.m. Naturally, she was late to work the first couple of days. Drivers are being forced to be behind the wheel for 10 hours or more, a direct violation of Department of Transportation regulations and a threat to the safety of riders. Many have been assigned to 13 hour shifts.  

Last Friday, an Alameda Superior Court judge ordered our union and AC Transit to select a neutral arbitrator and settle our contract. The District has delayed hiring the arbitrator and instead has chosen to deliberately mess up this great transportation system and deliberately blame it on front line workers. Drivers are working and doing their best under the circumstances. They, not executives at AC Transit, are on the front line and helping the passengers deal with the delays and confusion caused by the District.  

What the AC Transit District is doing is illegal, unfair, and unsafe to the drivers and riders of AC Transit. For some reason the district doesn't want to resolve this reasonably. Now they've hired "an outside public relations spokesperson" named Sam Singer to try to explain all this. Why does the District need to hire "an outside spokesperson"? I'm the chief negotiator for bus drivers and mechanics. I don't need a spokesperson to say what has to be said:  

Let's hire the neutral arbitrator. Let's finish these negotiations and sign a fair contract. Let's focus on providing the highest level of safety and service to the riders of AC Transit.  

I am available any time at 510-316-0406 for comment and clarification. I can also help arrange interviews with bus drivers, mechanics and dispatchers who can tell you first hand and personal about the chaos the District has created.  

Claudia Hudson

President and Chief Negotiator

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192