Ed Wytkind, President of TTD, AFL-CIO, John Previsich, President of SMART Transportation Division and other union leaders have released a joint letter to Anthony Foxx, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), urging the DOT to issue a rule “to protect bus drivers and other transit operators from the physical assaults that are plaguing this industry.”
When operating a motor coach — whether carrying students, commuters, tourists or the handicapped – whenever we open the door, we are exposed to assaults.
We are vulnerable to what we do see, and what we cannot see, such as the sneezing, wheezing and coughing passengers spreading illness.
Many of us are versed in “talking down” aggressive and sometimes out-of-control passengers. The federal government and states are toughening penalties for violent acts against transportation workers, and many employers are taking additional steps to protect bus operators, such as by installing video cameras in terminals and on buses.
On page 11 of this issue, our union’s medical consultant, Dr. Norman Brown, explains how to protect ourselves against one dangerous micro-organism called MRSA.
A benefit of being a union member is that from the local level to the International, we have qualified officers and staff working each day to help improve workplace safety. For example, to the right of this column is an article and photo showing the success of the UTU in having notices posted in Coach USA buses in New Jersey warning of severe penalties for assaulting bus operators.
If you have ideas about further protecting the safety and health of bus operators, share them with your local officers, and also with Bus Department Vice President Vic Baffoni at the UTU International in Cleveland, whose e-mail address is email@example.com.