As part of ATU's "Boot Camp," led by Good Jobs First
, TEN and ATU leaders spent an afternoon discussing issues facing their communities and identifying shared values. We learned about each other's successes and plotted a path for joint campaigns in cities across the country.
ATU discovered that they're not alone in the fight for transportation justice -- and TEN reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that good wages and benefits secured by the union are not undermined.
As one participant remarked: "Transit is like the circulatory system of our communities -- it's the lifeblood."
TEN affiliates were energized and inspired by the newly elected ATU President Larry Hanley, a veteran community organizer. Larry knows what it takes to make positive changes and he knows that when riders, drivers, and community leaders come together, everyone wins.
After the meeting, TEN and Gamaliel affiliate Gamaliel of Metro Chicago organized a march and press event to demand improved transit access in the Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen. More than a dozen Gamaliel affiliates and over 200 leaders and organizers from across the country participated in the action.
The neighborhood's current bus route requires seniors and patients at the local medical center to cross a busy street trafficked by semi-trailers and make a treacherous walk through an industrial neighborhood. TEN and ATU successfully won a commitment from Alderman Danny Solis to pursue moving the bus stop and to work with the Chicago Transit Authority on building a bus shelter that will allow patients, elderly residents, and people with disabilities safe, easy access to the services they need.