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Bus drivers, supporters calling for Metro to restore service

The following is from Shop Floor 587:

ATU-logoSEATTLE (Oct. 31, 2014) — Bus drivers, mechanics, and other members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 587, in concert with concerned public organizations, are holding a Halloween Speak Out today to deliver the message: “Hey King County, Stop the Tricks! Restore Our Bus Service!” The protest, which will include costumes and labor music, will be held in front of the offices of King County Executive Dow Constantine, 401 5th Ave., from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is sponsored by Shop Floor 587, a rank-and-file caucus of members of ATU Local 587, committed to the motto of “Freedom through Organization.”

Transit workers and riders will gather in front of the King County Executive’s offices to protest the September service cuts of 161,000 hours, the largest in Metro’s history — and fare hikes that are scheduled to go into effect in Winter 2015. They will also protest working conditions, including overloaded buses and schedules that are too tight to run on time or provide rest breaks.

Endorsers of the event include ATU Local 587, Ethiopian Transit Operators Association, Transit Riders Union, Washington Federation of State Employees Local 1488, Radical Women, Service Employees International Union Local 6 – Active Retirees, Seattle Central College ASC, Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity, Seattle Solidarity Network, The Maslow Project, and others.

King County recently announced that it may delay or stop more cuts that were scheduled for 2015, as a result of better revenue projections. Meanwhile, Proposition One is supposed to alleviate cuts in Seattle if it passes in November. But Shop Floor 587 Caucus members say they lack confidence in the commitment of elected officials to find a permanent progressive and stable funding source for a public transit system that is affordable to all. They point out that Proposition One does not stop the fare hikes or restore service that has been cut county-wide. The Caucus asserts that Proposition One is a regressive unstable fee/tax package that hits poor people the hardest, and tricks the public into having their pockets picked once again — while protecting millionaires who are not paying their fair share toward bus infrastructure.

A theme of the Speak-Out will be “Fund Public Transit By Taxing King County’s Wealth.” Caucus members note that state legislators drained public coffers with the huge tax break for Boeing, and that developers, such as Paul Allen and wealthy corporations such as Amazon, are being subsidized in the form of transit dollars that are going to Seattle’s new and growing street car system. The system is more expensive than bus service, enhances the property values of developers, and provides virtually no additional mobility. City officials have spent millions of dollars as well, to study extensions to Ballard and along First Avenue when the existing Electric Trolley Bus infrastructure could be expanded at a fraction of the cost providing High Capacity Transit. The Caucus is calling on elected officials to “fix Washington’s tax structure, the most regressive in the nation.”

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