A bus driver for ABQ Ride, attended our GA today to ask for our help in the fight for better wages and improved safety for bus drivers. Last week he organized a picket at the Alvarado Transportation Center (downtown 1st & Gold) and about 35 bus drivers were out there all day. They are afraid they will be retaliated against for speaking up about the safety problems and poor wages and want community support.
Bus drivers make $12.80/hr. This year there have been 17 assaults against bus drivers that they know of. Management lied and said there have only been 2. One rider was stabbed when he tried to help a bus driver who was attacked. One bus driver was hit in the head with a rock and his injuries are so severe he is no longer mentally able to drive and has to clean buses.
When the drivers have complained, the Transit Operations Director (Annette Paez) has told them they knew they were going to be in a hostile work setting and can either take it or leave the job. Security officers have been cut even though ridership went up to 1 million this fall, and assaults on bus drivers have DOUBLED (from 8 last year to 17 so far this year). Dispatch will no longer call 911 when bus drivers ask. They have to call 911 on their own cell phones. Wait times for police response is 20-40 minutes.
The bus drivers’ demands are:
* fully staff bus security and don’t outsource it to contractors
* pay bus drivers a higher wage
* recognize the need for safety for bus drivers
The driver has asked for our help and we agreed to:
- Join the picket line this Wed. 25th from 11am-1pm and Friday 27th from 11am-1pm at 1st & Gold. Please bring signs with messages that say “I support bus drivers” “Pay bus drivers a fair wage” “Bus drivers deserve to be safe” etc. They want to show that passengers support the drivers.
- Join the press conference on Mon Sept 30th 11-1pm at City Hall.
- Ask others to join the picket. They picket daily 8am-4pm this week except Mon (12pm-4pm) at 1st & Gold.
- Call Transit Operations Director Annette Paiz and demand they have work safety and better wages: (505)-764-6111
Here is the Ch. 7 KOAT story on their struggle:
Solidarity for public transportation workers!
Better pay & safer work environments!
See you Wed, Fri and next Monday hopefully!