Deacon Who?

My photo
(Note: Ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily shared by the transit agency I work for. This is simply an expression of free speech while describing the work bus operators perform.) I have been (and called) many things in this life. Most of all, I'm a writer who happens to drive a bus. In May of '13 I thought it would be fun to write about my job. As a direct result of this blog, I published a book in November of 2017 called "JUST DRIVE - Life in the Bus Lane" that is available on Amazon. I write to provide insight as to what it's like on a bus... From The Driver Side. Thank you for reading!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Chris Day - Candidate for ATU President

DEKE'S NOTE: As promised, I have asked each candidate for the top three union offices to answer a list of questions about their qualifications and goals. Christopher Day, candidate for President, is the first to submit his answers, so here they are. His responses are presented as he wrote them, for your consideration.

Christopher Day
ATU 757 Presidential Candidate
1) Who are you, and which office are you campaigning for? What makes you our best choice? Why do you want to serve in this capacity?

My name is Christopher Day and I am a candidate for ATU757 President 2018-2021.

Over these past 11 years there has been a number of issues that has taken place that our union should have been a stronger representative for us. I believe that our union officers need to be held accountable for all their actions they take on the behalf of our members. The only way our members can hold our officers accountable for their actions is to be able to have the ability to see what our officers are doing. I will bring transparency to our members so that together as a team we can improve our union so that we can strongly represent each other when addressing labor issues with our employers. My interest in the technologies of today has provided me with enough skills to help bring our union to a more current level that will help improve organization and communications. An interactive secure website will allow our members and officers the ability to exchange information quickly and efficiently. Providing such a thing will allow our members more opportunities to participate in our union.

I want to serve in this capacity because I feel our members are in need of transparency so that we can mend the divides that are taking place within our union. The more our members see of our union the more interest will build. Each member has their own strengths and we need to combine these strengths so that we can be an unstoppable team/family.

2) What do you believe to be the membership’s main concerns (from your office’s perspective) moving forward through 2020? How would you work toward improving these areas?

I have heard many concerns from our members. I would say the strongest concern would be how our union officers are handling our contract negotiations. There are large gaps from the time a contract expires to the time a new contract is ratified. When a contract is ratified our members later learn of things that have been overlooked that effects the members in a negative manner.

Our contract is the most important part of our work environment. It is a document that needs as many eyes as possible viewing it looking for its strong and weak points. To do this we need to create a contract workbook that all members have access to. This workbook can be created in electronic form and available online so that members can freely interact with the workbook. Such a workbook will make it easier to collect supporting documentation as to why an improvement needs to be made or what is working. Having this available during a current contract will help with preparations of the contract expiration. This will help negotiators when the time comes to step up to the table. Even though it is just the negotiators stepping up to the table it is the entire membership in that workbook that is being presented. That is how I would work towards improving our contract negotiations.

3) Assaults are on the rise every year. Do you believe operator barriers are the answer? What are the pros and cons of the barriers? What else could be done to stop this escalating problem?

I have been assaulted twice. The first assault my cheek bone was fractured in 4 different places. The second assault re-fractured my cheek bone and caused nerve damage that most like will not fully heal. With the assaults that happened to me I would say that if there was a barrier in place then most likely I would not have been harmed as much.

Though I feel that the purposed barriers most likely would have reduced the harm I received I do not feel that the purposed barriers are the full answer to this issue.

The positive side of an operator barrier is:

That it would prevent a surprise attack and allow the operator an opportunity to react to the assault.

The negative side of an operator barrier is:

That the barrier doesn’t fully enclose the operator allowing the ability for things such as liquids to get thrown past the barrier.

If an emergency took place the operator is at risk of being trapped by the barrier.

The glare from the additional glass causes more visual issues.

That steps are being taken to protect the operator but not the other passengers.

It will take more than a single solution to reduce or stop assaults on operators. Laws with strong penalties can help reduce some assaults, advocate riders would help, removing all fare responsibilities from the operator would help, a video monitor system such as in a bank that has a monitor so that those who enter the bus see that they are being recorded, making all cameras on the bus so visible that those who enter the bus can see the large number of cameras that are on the bus recording them, public awareness programs and a stronger presence of fare inspectors and/or police. There is no one correct answer for this issue. It is an issue that does needs to be addressed.

4) Since we cannot strike, how can we ensure that our union membership concerns will be taken seriously by management? Do you have any creative strategies to ensure constructive dialog and positive actions?

I have learned that with TriMet we need strong documentation that supports our position. When the research is done and documents collected and presented to TriMet they tend to listen better. Rather than relying on TriMet providing documents through document request we should be relying on our members and our research skills to produce the documentation needed to get TriMet’s attention. By having an interactive secure website members can submit information and documentation to help build a strong case that TriMet cannot ignore. As more members start working together to achieve our goals members will be more receptive to participate in actions such as not working overtime or other things that can be legally done to bring awareness to TriMet management.

5) The local media message is controlled by management. How do you propose to engage the media and help the public understand the issues we face?

Our involvement with our community will help bring awareness to the issues we face. The media will follow where our community is going so we need to become more involved with our community needs so that our community can help us gain the media’s ear.

6) Social media is a very active and volatile tool within our membership. How will you use it to communicate with US?

Social media has been an area that I have been very active with. When answering a person’s question on social media more than just the person who asked the question sees the answer. For me social media is one of the strongest tools I have to communicate with other members.

7) Members are upset with the arbitration process and how the union communicates decisions to the membership. Is this process broken? If so, please state your ideas on how to improve arbitration procedures.

TriMet prolongs and delays mediation so that the system will get bogged down. By delaying mediation it brings more cost to our union. TriMet is able to do this because our contract has no language that penalizes for failure to follow the contract. Though contract laws do not allow for set penalties to be in contracts it does allow for language to recover loss from contract violations. Our contract could have language in it that would cover losses such as representation cost along with wage loss for contract violations. Even though TriMet would most likely continue to delay the process our union would be able to recuperate the cost of representation.

We are having too many repeated incidents of contract violations. This clearly indicates that management is ignoring our arbitrations and not changing their behavior. We need to improve our contract language and assure that we are following as well as our employers.

All of our grievances need to be digitized and logged so that members can track and follow how our union is addressing grievances. As grievances are entered in the system all communications and documents need to be tacked on as it progresses. Constant follow up needs to take place so to assure that members are aware of what is taking place with the grievance and it is not being stalled. Maintain such a data base would make it easy to address repeat violations and possibly provide a quick resolve.

8) What’s your favorite union movie, and why?

“Made in Dagenham” made in 2011.

The movie is about a Woman who fought for equal pay as a sewing machinist for an auto giant in 1968. It showed how hard she had to fight not only the auto giant but also her union to receive proper representation. If you haven’t seen it I would recommend checking it out.

9) How do we get more members involved, attending meetings and adding to the overall discussion?

Many of our members already have their plates full of many things and that makes it difficult to participate. Members also express that our meetings lack productive structure and their voices are not being heard. Our union needs to not keep asking for members to come to our union, our union needs to find ways to get out to our members. Our union needs to view our members work schedule and find ways to schedule meetings that most members in the area will be off. Our union needs to participate with social media where our members are at so that questions can be answered. Our union needs to find ways that our members can still participate with union business if they are not able to attend union meetings. Our member’s social media discussions should be included in our union meetings topics and a report given back to the members of the social media discussions. Activities such as this can spark more interest in participation.

10) I’ve only asked questions on a few points. Please let us know what other issues you believe are vital as we move forward.

A very important continuing issue at hand is the care of our retirees. Our current retirees are finding themselves being pushed in a corner while new members are being put on a different retirement plan all together. We need to stabilize and fix the needs of our current retirees and we need to address how our new member’s retirement plan is being conducted. Our current retirees have worked very hard to get where they are now and we need to make sure they are taken care of. Our new members need to feel secure about their retirement plans as well so we also need to address all retirement needs and stop allowing divides to take place.

BONUS QUESTION: Did you read “JUST DRIVE – Life in the Bus Lane?” Did you post a review on Amazon? (LOL… just messing with you on that one.)
I am sorry to say that I have not read “Just Drive – Life in the bus lane” and there for have not posted any reviews on Amazon.

Thank you for giving us candidates the opportunity to participate and allow members to see how all of us respond. Best wishes –Chris Day

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sadness BusBits

Deke's Note: After the fright, stress and flashbacks of the violent incident on my bus just over a week ago, I have ached to reach back ...