Deacon Who?

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(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!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Candidate for President Bruce Hansen States His Views

Deke's Note: I've taken some heat for how I write headlines on these posts giving candidates a voice on my blog. It wasn't a conscious decision meant to show any favoritism. You won't know who I vote for based on how I present these posts. I simply detest being overly repetitive. Since it's my blog and I'm giving each candidate the same opportunity, a headline shouldn't determine how you're going to vote. Note the lengthy and ambiguous headline on this post. Unless your head has been under a bus seat the past few years, you already know what office Mr. Hansen is running for. If you don't, my apologies; you will find out in the next note...

Deke's Note II: Here are the answers ATU 757 Presidential Candidate Bruce Hansen provided to the questions I've asked each Top 3 candidate.

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Bruce Hansen
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?
I am Bruce Hansen and I am running for the office of President. I am the best choice for President because I am honest, companionate and trustworthy. I have the ability to open the communication needed between leadership and members as well as ATU757 and International. I am fiscally responsible. When I served as President in 2012 our union was on the verge of bankruptcy and when I left office three years later we had over $900,000 in the bank. I successfully launched a media campaign to inform the public of the agencies mismanagement and unnecessary spending.  I want to serve all of the members of ATU757. For the past three years, members have been shut out and ignored. Their calls have not been returned and they have been turned away when they tried to contact the leadership at the office. I have a proven track record of returning calls and having open communication with all members.

I want to serve as President because the membership and the future of ATU757 is important to me. 

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 believe that the membership's main concerns would be they want to be heard and represented. I also believe that safety, Healthcare and wages and an unfair SIP policy (at TriMet) are major concerns of the members of ATU757.

I would work toward improving these areas by having open communication between the ATU representatives and management(joint labor/management committees). I believe these committees should and would be made up of not only leadership but, of the members at large, meaning YOU. 

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 do not believe that barriers are the sole answer to operator assaults, they can be a part of the solution. The pros of the barriers are it would be an immediate deterrent to an operator being assaulted; however the con would be the removal of the personal interaction between the operator and the public. Other things that can be done to stop the escalation of operator assaults are improving the visibility of the supervisor, fare inspectors, code enforcers, security, and transit police. I currently serve on the Security Continuance Improvement Team (SCIT) and this committee needs to continue because they are things to prevent employee assaults such as looking into the barrier option and changing SOPs and other safety options.

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?
Since we cannot strike, to ensure that our concerns are taken seriously by management we can hold joint labor management meetings on a regular basis. We should be visible in the communities that we represent, build relationships with local and state politicians. We should attend the board meetings monthly, not just when we want to be heard or there is a major crisis in our system or policies.

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?
I propose to, as I have in the past, a continued commitment with all of the local media, including radio, and printed media sources. I still have a number of contacts in the local media that have always been willing to sit down with me to talk and discuss our issues.

6) Social media is a very active and volatile tool within our membership. How will you use it to communicate with US?
I would use social media to build a president page that I could post agendas prior to membership meetings and meeting summaries of the meetings. I would also use this page and other social media sources to inform members of upcoming events and actions. This would be great place to post contract updates as well, to keep the membership involved in the process and aware of where we are in the process. I would also post my report and other officers reports could be posted as well.  Social media is not and should not be a one way information source, it is also a great resource for the membership to reach out and communicate with myself as well as other officers.

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.
I have posted the arbitration decisions on the website for all members to view in the past and I pledge to continue to do this when I am elected. As for the arbitration process itself, I would like the union to be better prepared for the arbitration process itself. This can be accomplished by training local officers on note taking and record keeping. International has great resources on this type of officer training and I intend to utilize that resource as well as other great resources the International as to offer us.

8) What’s your favorite union movie, and why?
I do not watch a lot of TV or movies so, I do not really have an answer for this question. 

9) How do we get more members involved, attending meetings and adding to the overall discussion?
I would like to see more members involved and International as some great resources that we can use, along with some great local resources. Some of the resources that I plan to utilize to get information out to the members might include, a text messaging program, messages in the newsletter, informational mailings, emails, phone calls, and flyers posted at the worksites and social media as mentioned in the last question. These are just a few of the ways to communicate with members but, I always believe that a face-to-face conversation with members is and will continue to be the best way to communicate with the member and to hear what they have to say. Communication is a two-way street we have to listen and hear the members as well.

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.
There are so many more that are vital to the local that need to be addressed but, here are a just few more: Employee safety, meal and restroom breaks, schedules, unfair discipline, lack of manager ability to make decisions, unsafe work environment, unsafe equipment, breakdown of benefit usage, wages. This list can go on forever. However, the key is to start discussions around all members concerns with the employers. Without open discussions we will fail. To restart joint labor/management meetings because they have proven to be an effective way of resolving many different issues. Having member round table discussions is another way for members to be heard and issues to be resolved.   

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