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, March 22, 2021

Transit Management Grow UP!

Deke's Note: WTF? A brother operator told me management is considering suspending him for uncovering his face to take a drink. One YEAR ago. Before masks became mandatory. Whilst sipping a sip attempting to save his own life by not contracting a virus few even knew about then. Just bend over, buddy. You're screwed under this psycho regime.

This cycle of abuse MUST stop. We have been on the front line of this pandemic since long before it slithered onto our shores. Throughout, we have been subjected to a public scrutiny more intense than any other public servants. One slip over the nose and mouth, even to take a drink at a traffic signal, and some ne'er do well with a fragile chip needing shattered will call in a complaint. To insult a front line worker by even allowing such a whiny bitchfest to reach our mail is far beyond reprehensible. 

Give ME the GM job, and MOST complaints would stop at the source. We have enough problems just keeping our vehicles safe from the largely un-policed hordes of horrid motorists. To allow the least to make life more difficult by pouncing on every supposed gaffe the ignorants believe foul, management further strengthens its incompetent malfeasance those whose sole purpose should be to support US. Above capital projects, above selfish self promotion, above its seeming nightmarish fantasy to gloriously abuse us. 

Management has devolved into some sadomasochistic scheme to drive its frontline workers to the heights of despair. Once there, we expect the knife to pierce our already-worried souls. While it is more apt to come from some crazed passenger, we shouldn't expect our "support" staff to wield this deadly weapon. You are slowly, methodically and efficiently killing us. Too many die of stress-related illness during this career or soon after leaving it.

Just STOP, would ya? Re-evaluate your priorities. Find the goodness in your souls, whatever remains there. We are not "dirty", as the Laird of HR decrees. We work no matter what pains us, smile through the insults and ignorance your indifference allows.

Few of you worry leaving your loved ones as you work. Not only that fear travels with us to work, but we also agonize whether we will bring COVID home to those who eagerly await our safe return. You can quarantine; we cannot. During the worst of it all, you had the luxury of "hiding/working" (our GM actually had the cajones to state non-union workers "hid" while performing their duties) from home. Another of many heart-piercing insults management has thrust into our collective hearts this past year.

Additionally, you send the worst negotiator in human history to do your dastardly deeds. You disrespect us by leaving a painful list of takeaways on the table during contract negotiations while allowing petty mid-managers to wreak havoc upon our very souls. You're miserable at your jobs, but I'm on time 94% and my passengers enjoy my friendly and safe ride. What have you to show for your lack of effort? Not a damn bit, losers.

WE have faced this pandemic head-on, balls and breasts to the wheel, every time a passenger boards our bus. There has been no way to realistically "social distance" ourselves from this pandemic, no matter what toothless SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) you change at a whim, all to benefit the least of those who ride our vehicles. If someone refuses to wear a mask, coming maskless within inches of our personal space/infection zone, we have simply been instructed to enter a "Mask Refusal" code into our console. Just Drive, dumbasses. Unskilled labor. Dirty people. No biggie to you: safe at home while monitoring each supposed crime we commit doing what you're too goddamn chickenshit to attempt. If you had the slightest ounce of respect for US, you would erase your outrageous proposals and accept our union's original offer, a true bargain for the incredible gems who toil amidst any and every disaster the rest of the world deigns to "hide" from. Hey, you have no more "capital projects" to afford. How about investing in those who do the work you're "over-qualified" to perform?

Did you realize nearly 150 New York operators DIED from COVID?!? How about the hundreds of others whose loss we mourn daily on social media? Your past GM had never even heard of Thomas Dunn when you hired him. Smiley Doug hadn't even read the State Audit of our transit system when the "Bored" decided his numerous failures qualified him for the job.

Mr. Dunn was murdered while driving his route almost two years ago in Florida. His death scares the crap out of ALL of us. Does his death matter at ALL to you, or the fact that it could happen here in Portland? Given the alarming uptick of attacks upon us the past several years? No. You bowed to public pressure during the 2020 Summer of Discontent and decimated our transit police division. Gee, thanks for your support. Not only are we at risk, but chances are help is now even further away.

Yeah, I'm pissed at you. Again. For putting my fellow brothers and sisters through more pain and misery than usual, which was more than enough prior to this cruel plague. For finally deciding to clean filthy transit vehicles mid-shift, only forced to do so because of COVID. Before, buses were only "sanitized" four times a year. They were filthy germ-infested armpits of transit, documented long before you decided to "act" in a face-saving measure while posturing it as "protecting our front line". You had to do this to save face. Otherwise, you obviously would not have given one hairy shit. As it is, filters on our bus HVAC system are only replaced "every 6,000 miles", which translates into anywhere from 3-6 months given the vehicle's service levels. Putrid manner of "protecting" your front line, folks. You should be ashamed. I would fire most of you my first day as JCMP. This would save US a helluva lotta dough while immediately improving frontline morale.

It was altogether fitting I saw no management presence on March 18. "Transit Worker Appreciation Day" is a farce in Portland, and other locales across this blue marble in space. I'm relieved there were no false shows of support from our management on that day, at least on the night shift. Perhaps day operators saw some half-assed dog and pony show, but the 9-5ers are long gone whilst I brave the night. Not even a discarded carrot awaited my arrival at Center Garage. Fitting, indeed. I might have said something altogether insubordinate had I seen anything even attempting respect after exposing myself to another COVID-infested shift.

Given management's/Bored penchant for sending "Customer Service" reps to do its faux dirty work, I might have simply cursed and walked away. Maybe management should remain under quarantine, given its cowardly fear of exposure to what we constantly breathe 10+ hours every day.

Governor Brown should fire the entire "Bored" of Directors for its callous indifference to the plight of ATU757 workers, and promote me to the position of General Manager. With your Deke at the helm, life for my beloved brothers and sisters would immediately change for the best. 

We have an interim GM, hopefully a positive given the shameful exit of Canada's failure. Someone who has actually operated a bus. He's a hybrid management dude, so the blue jury remains wary. How long has it been since you drove a bus, Sam? It's funny how quickly they forget shedding the blue for a suit. Are you one of them, or must a fresh Blue replace you?

I'm tired of being disrespected. Just STOP. Please. You owe us at least that much.


  1. As a former TriMet operator, I urge you to at least apply for
    the TriMet GM job. Please give it some consideration to be a
    candidate. Nothing ventured,nothing gained.Go for it.

  2. I am firmly convinced that they want to get rid of any driver who has 5 years or more experience. Look at the high turnover rate and compare it to the sheer pettiness loaded onto any long term driver. It was a common practice by corporations not that long ago to dump anyone who's benefits cost more than training a new employee. The pattern is there to see with this administration.


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